Combatting the False Codling Moth

Protecting Your Crops

Understanding False Codling Moth (FCM)


The False Codling Moth (FCM), Thaumatotibia leucotreta, is one of the most significant pests impacting South Africa's high-value export crops, particularly citrus. Indigenous to sub-Saharan Africa, FCM has a wide host range, making it a significant threat to various agricultural sectors. Recognised as a phytosanitary pest with zero tolerance, FCM primarily causes crop losses through fruit fall and internal damage.


Impact on Different Farming Industries

Citrus Farming

The False Codling Moth (FCM) significantly impacts citrus farming. FCM larvae burrow into citrus fruits, causing internal damage and premature fruit drop, making the fruit inedible and unsuitable for export.

Infested fruits often fail to meet export standards due to hidden damage detected during quality checks, leading to economic losses. Additionally, larvae can hatch post-harvest or even after packing, complicating pest management.

Effective control measures include regularly monitoring pheromone traps, implementing orchard sanitation, and utilising Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies that combine biological control agents with targeted chemical applications.

Vineyard Farming

False Codling Moth (FCM) significantly affects vineyards by causing berry damage through larvae boring, leading to internal harm, berry drop, and reduced yield.

Infested berries are prone to fungal infections, degrading grape quality and affecting wine production. This results in harvest losses and higher production costs.

Effective control measures include using pheromone traps, maintaining vineyard sanitation by removing damaged grapes and employing natural predators and parasitoids for biological control.

Macadamia Nut Farming

False Codling Moth (FCM) threatens macadamia farming by penetrating nuts, reducing their quality and marketability, and causing premature nut drop, leading to significant yield losses.

Damaged nuts are also more vulnerable to secondary pests and diseases. Effective management includes regularly monitoring pheromone traps, maintaining orchard hygiene, and combining biological control agents with targeted chemical treatments to ensure healthier and more productive orchards.

Livestock Farming

False Codling Moth (FCM) indirectly affects livestock farming by infesting fodder crops, reducing their quality and availability. Infestations weaken pasture plants, compromising the overall quality of livestock feed.

Additionally, infested fodder requires extra treatment, increasing costs and potentially impacting livestock health. To manage FCM, regular inspections of fodder crops for signs of infestation are crucial.

Implementing crop rotation and maintaining healthy pastures are effective cultural practices while encouraging natural enemies in pasture lands, which aids in controlling FCM populations biologically.

Effective Biological Control

The cryptic nature of FCM, dense tree canopies, and restrictions on certain pesticides make conventional chemical control challenging. An integrated pest management (IPM) approach is essential, utilising biological control agents such as the parasitoid wasp Trichogrammatoidae cryptophebia produced by Vital Bugs.

Parasitic Wasps

Trichogrammatoidae cryptophebia

Advantages of Biological Control:

  1. Sustainable: Leaves no chemical residues and is environmentally friendly.
  2. Cost-Effective: Often provides a favourable cost-benefit ratio.
  3. Targeted: Specifically targets FCM, reducing reliance on broad-spectrum chemicals.

Combat the False Codling Moth

Leverage biocontrol agents for sustainable farming


By leveraging these biological control agents and implementing IPM strategies, farmers can effectively manage FCM infestations, ensuring healthier crops and better yields.