Tree Fruit Insect Pest - Lesser Appleworm

Lesser appleworm, Grapholita prunivora, is a common native North American species, although infrequent as a pest in Pennsylvania orchards.
Tree Fruit Insect Pest - Lesser Appleworm - Articles


Lesser apple worm adults are only ¼ inch long and are brownish and yellowish colored.Photo by G. Krawczyk.

Larvae are general fruit feeders attacking apples, pears, peaches, apricots, plums, and cherries.

Description and life cycle

Adults are only ¼ inch long and are brownish and yellowish colored. When the moth is at rest, a gold band becomes evident across its back. Eggs are white to yellowish and are laid singly on leaves and fruit. Larvae are pinkish, have an anal comb, and reach 3∕8 inch when mature.

Lesser appleworm has two and possibly a partial third generations in Pennsylvania. This insect overwinters as full-grown larvae in a cocoon on the tree, under loose bark scales, or in litter on the ground. The life cycle overlaps closely with codling moth.


Larvae form extensive shallow mines under the fruit skin and may burrow deeper as they mature, although not into the core. Feeding injury in the fall is often limited to the calyx region.

Monitoring and management

Management procedures for codling moth (except codling-moth-only mating disruption) also control this pest. Oriental fruit moth pheromone lures will attract this pest and pheromone mating disruption for Oriental fruit moth will also disrupt lesser appleworm mating.