Agricultural entomology: Fruit moth

Agricultural entomology: Fruit moth

Classification and host plants

Class: Insects
Order: Lepidoptera
Suborder: hetoneuri
Family: Gelechidae
Genus: Recurvaria
Species: R. nanella Hbn.

Bibliographic reference:
Phytopathology, agricultural entomology and applied biology” – M.Ferrari, E.Marcon, A.Menta; School edagricole - RCS Libri spa

Host plants: Stone fruit, Pome fruit, Chestnut and other Rosaceae.

Identification and damage

The fruit moth is a fairly common polyphagous insect in Italy; it is not particularly harmful because it hardly reaches populations capable of causing massive infestations.
The adults are medium-sized butterflies (9-12 mm wingspan); the livery of the front wings is gray-blackish, with whitish oblique transverse bands.
The larvae are greenish-yellow with a dark head; their size is around 6-10 mm in length. The damage is determined by the larvae that attack:
- the gems still closed: these are devoured from the inside and emptied;
- young shoots: the leaves of these shoots are eroded, pierced, and tied by the silky threads that deform them;
- the fruit, very rarely, in which the larvae dig small superficial tunnels.
The small larvae born in the summer months dig tunnels, thin and branched, in the mesophyll of the leaves, without however causing significant damage.

Biological cycle

The fruit Tignola winters at the larval stage, protected by a small cocoon in the natural shelters of the orchard such as the ravines of the zest and residues of the vegetation. In spring these larvae resume activity very early, in some areas already at the end of winter, damaging the buds first and then the buds. Adults appear in the summer months, between June and July; the females lay in the lower leaf epidermis. The newborn summer larvae cause the leaf mines already described; subsequently, at the end of the summer, they prepare to winter. Therefore, the fruit moth turns 1 generation per year.

Fruit Moth adult - Recurvaria nanella Hbn. (photo

Fruit Tignola larva - Recurvaria nanella Hbn. (photo


The fight against the Moth of the fruit is chemical; however, it is almost never done specifically. The normal treatments carried out against other fruit-bearing phytophages (eg Anarsia) are sufficient to control their population.
In any case, the treatments carried out in pre-flowering, on wintering larvae, and at the end of flowering, possibly mixed with white oil which performs a synergistic action, especially on persistence, are effective.

Video: fruit sucking moth (January 2022).