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Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

Eye-spotted bud moth

Eye-spotted budmoth larvae  Eye-spotted bud moth injury to fruit
Click to enlarge.

Beginner

Scientific Name
Spilonota ocellana (Denis and Schiffermullar)

Identification
Eggs:

  • Oval,
  • 0.8 mm in size,
  • Creamy white in colour initially, and turn yellow over time.

Larvae:             

  • Chocolate brown, and the head varies from medium brown to black,
  • 9-14 mm in length at maturity,

Pupae:

  • Golden when grown,
  • 6-7 mm in length.

Adults:

  • Moths gray brown in colour,
  • 12-16 mm wingspan,
  • The forewing is darker with a series of light streaks on the outer part.

Damage:

  • The insect burrows into, and feeds on, opening flower buds and forms shelters by tying leaves together.
  • Young larvae feed on leaf undersides and construct shelters of leaves and frass; fruit in contact with infested leaves may also be attacked.
  • Feeding injury is characterized by tiny, shallow circular excavations on the fruit surface.

Often Confused With

Period of Activity
The eye-spotted bud moth overwinters as a partially grown larva within a silken case attached to the base of spurs and twigs. Larvae become active in early spring, when apples reach the half inch green stage. A second generation is active in mid July through early August.

Scouting Notes
In early spring, tiny larvae in buds and developing terminals are difficult to detect without pulling the plant tissue apart and observing with a 10-16X hand lens.

During the period between tight cluster to petal fall, check 5 terminal shoots and 5 fruit buds in each of 10 trees (50 terminals and 50 fruit buds in total) for signs of caterpillar feeding activity.

Thresholds
An insecticide is generally recommended when the action threshold of 12-15 larvae per 100 terminals and fruit buds is observed.

Advanced

Scientific Name
Spilonota ocellana

Identification
Eggs are oval and 0.8 mm in size, creamy white in colour initially, and turn yellow over time. Larvae are chocolate brown, and the head varies from medium brown to black. Mature larvae are 9-14 mm in length. Pupae are golden grown and 6-7 mm in length. Adult moths are gray brown with a 12-16 mm wingspan. The forewing is darker with a series of light streaks on the outer part.

Feeding injury is characterized by tiny, shallow, circular excavations on the fruit surface, similar to injury from summer generation obliquebanded leafroller.

Often Confused With

Biology
The eye-spotted bud moth overwinters as a partially grown larva within a silken case attached to the base of spurs and twigs. Larvae become active in early spring, when apples reach the half inch green stage. The insect burrows into, and feeds on, opening flower buds and forms shelters by tying leaves together. Bud moth larvae may also burrow into developing shoots, causing economic damage in nursery and non-bearing plantings.

Larvae pupate after five to seven weeks and emerge as small moths with grey and white markings and resemble bird droppings when at rest. A second generation is active in mid July through early August. Young larvae from this generation feed on leaf undersides and construct shelters of leaves and frass. Fruit in contact with infested leaves may also be attacked.

Period of Activity
Larvae become active in early spring, when apples reach the half inch green stage. A second generation is active in mid July through early August.

Scouting Notes
Spring-feeding caterpillars feed on a wide variety of deciduous trees and shrubs, herbaceous plants and brambles. They are most often detected in apple trees at the perimeter of the orchard adjacent to alternative hosts. Many species are also dispersed deeper into the orchard interior by wind currents, so do not restrict monitoring to orchard perimeters.

In early spring, tiny larvae in buds and developing terminals are difficult to detect without pulling the plant tissue apart and observing with a 10-16X hand lens.

During the period between tight cluster to petal fall, check 5 terminal shoots and 5 fruit buds in each of 10 trees (50 terminals and 50 fruit buds in total) for signs of caterpillar feeding activity.

Thresholds
An insecticide is generally recommended when the action threshold of 12-15 larvae per 100 terminals and fruit buds is observed.

Management Notes

  • Many predatory and parasitic insects attack spring-feeding caterpillars, however beneficial insects do not usually provide adequate control. To conserve and encourage natural enemies of spring-feeding caterpillars, apply insecticides only if the action threshold is reached and then select products that are not toxic to beneficials. For more information on the toxicity of pesticides to beneficial insects click here.
  • Birds such as chickadees, bluebirds, warblers and woodpeckers also feed on caterpillars but do not provide adequate control.
  • A number of fungal and viral diseases also impact caterpillar populations, particularly during warm, wet springs.
  • Insecticide options are provided in OMAFRA Publication 360, Guide to Fruit Production - Chapter 3 Apples (PDF) or Apple Calendar only (PDF) :