Codling Moth vs Sage Moth

Adult Codling Moth

Early Season Codling Moth Trap Monitoring

While monitoring for Codling moth (Cydia pomonella) at the beginning of the field season care must be used when identifying the moths you catch in your traps. During this part of the season there is another moth that closely resembles Codling moth. This moth is referred to as the “Sage moth”, Grapholita imitativa. This moth is native to the Western US, but there is little information on host plants. It probably shares some pheromone components with the Codling moth and is active around the same time as Codling moth first flight and is often captured in pheromone traps set out to monitor Codling moth. Misidentification of this moth as Codling moth can cause erroneous conclusions about early season codling moth risk in an orchard resulting in too early application of your control measures.

codling moth adult on left; sage moth adult on right
This figure shows two adult moths stuck inside a monitoring trap. The moth on the left is the Codling moth. It is slightly larger than the Sage moth to the right. Codling moth has a broad reddish-brown colored region at the bottom of the wings.

sage moth adult
Take a look at the close-up of the Sage moth. Although the base color is similar to that of Codling moth, there is a dark region in the middle of the wings bisected by two white or pale lines. In addition, Sage moth does not have the colored region at the end of the wings that Codling moth has.