Bionomics of Codling Moth


The native home of the codling moth is considered to be southeastern Europe from which it spread to various parts of the world (Map 1: Geographical Distribution of Codling Moth).  Theophrastus mentioned this insect in his writings in 371 B.C. (Tadic 1963).  Cato, the great orator of ancient Rome, speaks of “wormy apples” in his treatise on agriculture written nearly 200 years before the Christian era. In the first century A.D., both Columella and Pliny doubtless referred to this insect in their writing (Slingerland 1898). The codling moth is now a cosmopolitan insect occurring in almost every country where the apple is grown (Table 1: Country-wise Geographical Distribution of Codling Moth).  It is evident that present distribution of  codling moth is related to climatic factors as well as to food conditions. In view of the nature of the life history of the codling moth, the most common mode of its spread from one place to another is through the transport of infested fruit and packing material.  The boundaries of present day ranges are largely determined by temperature conditions.  In most localities, the northern boundary is defined by the amount of heat in the summer, a sum of effective temperature above 10 °C of the order 600 degree-days. Owing to the considerable cold resistance of the diapausing caterpillars and their overwintering beneath the snow, winter minimums restrict the range of the species only in the most continental regions, e. g. Eastern Siberia and Canada (Shel’Deshova 1967).  In the tropical regions, the limits of the range are mainly determined by the overwintering conditions and by absence of winter cooling that is essential to reactivation of the diapausing larvae; these limits coincide closely with the +10 °C isotherm of the coldest months (Shel’Deshova 1967).

In Europe, northern limits of the codling moth extends through Scotland and Scandinavia (Shel’Deshova 1967), where it reaches latitude 640 °N, and on through Southern Karelia, Kirov and Perm, which correspond closely to the limits of apple cultivation. There has been far more distribution of this insect in Asia, mainly within the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).  The codling moth has even followed the apple into Siberia, and does serious damage in most localities (Shvetsova 1949).  In the East, however, outside the CIS, the codling moth is found only in Chekiang and Sinkiang Uighur (China) (Anonymous 1976).  It is absent elsewhere in China, and is an object of both internal and external quarantine.  The southern distribution limit of the codling moth extends through the mountainous area of  North Africa [ including Tunisia (Anonymous 1976), Morocco (Bleton 1938, Anonymous 1976), Egypt (El-Gamil et al. 1977, Anonymous 1976), and North Algeria (Anonymous 1976)], across Israel, Syria, Iraq, and Iran, ending towards 300 °N.   In Pakistan, this pest came through Afghanistan, where it spread from Iran and the Central Asian states.  It has also been observed in the mountains of northern India (in the state of Himachal Pradesh).  In South Asia (Indo-Pakistan subcontinent), the infestation is confined to areas between 4,500 and 9,000 feet above sea level and the pest thrives best between 5,000 and 7,000 feet (Janjua et al. 1958, Sharma and Bhalla 1964).

In the USA, according to Slingerland (1898), it was probably introduced from Europe in packages containing infested apples and pears. It was first observed in New Egland in 1750, in Iowa in 1860, and in Washington (state) in 1880 (Johansen 1985). In Canada, it inhabits southern regions from New Brunswick to Vancouver Island, approximately to latitude 50 °N (Shel’Deshova 1967) Shel’Deshova 1967).  In Mexico, this insect is distributed only in the north-central areas (Sifuentes 1981).  The codling moth has also become firmly acclimatized in the southern  hemisphere.  It has spread in Australia and is destructive in the southeast of the continent, in Tasmania (Mathew and Kitching 1984), and in New Zealand (Croft and Penman 1989).  It once occurred in western Australia, but was eradicated in 1958 (Barnes 1991). In Africa, it is confined to South Africa as far as Pretoria and Orange River (Nel 1984). In South America, it occurs in Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Columbia, Chile, and Peru.

Table 1. Country-wise Geographical Distribution of Codling Moth

Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, South Africa, Tunisa, Zimbabwe.
Afganistan, Azerbaijan, Cyprus, India (Himachal Pradesh), Iran, Iraq, Israel,
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Pakistan, Southern Siberia (Russia), 
Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Chekiang and Sinkiang Uighur (China).
All countries (Anonymous, 1976).
North America
Canada, USA, North-Central Mexico.
Oceania and Australasia
Australia, New Zealand.
South America
Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Peru, Uruguay.