Apple ermine moth: How to control the pest

Apple ermine moth How to control the pest
Apple ermine moth How to control the pest

Apple ermine moth is also known as Yponomeuta malinellus. this is a winged leafworm, or as our grandmother called it, a leafroller moth. These silvery-white moths are small, with a wingspan of only 0.8inch (2cm).

In most parts of the country, this pest has been very successful in attacking fruit trees. Often, the plants are attacked so severely that their normal development stops completely.

The apple tree (if that is what is meant) has almost 90%, if not all, of its ovaries immediately reset, and the most unpleasant are the buds generated, that is, those that must bloom and give next year’s harvest.

The method of controlling the Apple ermine moth is explained in our article.


Indirect harm is caused by Apple ermine moth laying eggs, but tangible harm is caused by caterpillars, in addition to apple trees, with the pleasure, literally, of destroying the harvest of Flowering quince and pears.

The caterpillar has a yellow color and a pair of black, tar-like dots. Its body is only 0.6inch (1.5cm) long and has a fairly reliable shield to protect it from returning cold.

Once the weather warms up and the re-emerging cold becomes unaffected, the caterpillar cleverly disengages itself from this shield and begins to “chop” the leaves.

It actively absorbs the mass of the leaf, forming a kind of nest or woven web around its dislocation. In this nest, just like at home, Apple ermine moth caterpillars feed on the green matter and, once depleted, move on so that swarms of caterpillars can destroy all the green matter on these plants.

Most interestingly, one caterpillar of the Apple ermine moth feeds almost continuously for forty days without interruption. During this time, even one caterpillar of a two or three-year-old apple sapling will leave it leafless, and if there are a hundred caterpillars, it will leave an absolutely mature tree.

After eating their fill, the caterpillars pupate in their nests and then turn into Apple ermine moths, and only 10-12 days after turning into butterflies, they will be ready to make new eggs, sometimes consisting of a record number of eggs – as many as 70.

To protect them from birds, they are covered with a sticky substance, a special compound secreted exclusively by the Apple ermine moth.

Later, if the caterpillars hatch without anything to eat, they hide under this sticky mass, where they wait for the whole winter. Usually, this moth lays its eggs on the bark of the thinnest branches on the tree.


It’s great that the most intense plant damage occurs, culminating in the tree standing completely bare and still entangled in spider webs. In this case, photosynthesis is completely eliminated, there are no leaves, and the root system is effectively suppressed.

Naturally, the plant completely stops absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen, loses up to 90% of its immunity, and dies easily in winter. In particular, plants that are often attacked by the Apple ermine moth for several seasons in a row become extinct, gradually weakening their immunity and eventually reducing it to almost zero.

The stage of Apple ermine moth infestation can be any. This pest can attack trees when they are seedlings when they are young when they are large adults, or even on the mother plant in a nursery.

Important note: Moths can easily travel long distances in any container, whether it is a box of vegetables or fruit.

In general, the Apple ermine moth is a very dangerous pest and must be controlled.


Control methods of apple ermine moth
Control methods of apple ermine moth

Biological agents and insecticides for the control of Apple ermine moth

Let’s start with the algorithm of treatment with biological agents and insecticides. So, let’s take apple trees as an example: these plants usually finish flowering in mid-May (although it depends on what kind of spring it is).

During this period, the caterpillars of the Apple ermine moth are in their most vulnerable state and have access to almost all insecticides. Then you should not hesitate to start fighting them.

But before spraying the plants with chemicals, you must check, and only if you find a large accumulation of Apple ermine moth (very voracious, as we found out), you can start treating it.

Important! There is no selective treatment. The plant must have access to the entire contents of the product – no exceptions. If the caterpillars miraculously survive, they move on to the next untreated tree.

But even the elimination of insects and their larvae is not as difficult as the elimination of oviposition of the Apple ermine moth. Usually, for this purpose up to three treatments with preparations (containing paraffin), such as “Diflubenzuron” (but if the ovaries are small, you can limit yourself to a few treatments).

There are also biological combinations. For example, the “preparation of bacillus” was tested on the basis of the author’s own experience. It is necessary to dissolve 100 grams of this preparation in a bucket of water and treat infected plants as soon as the air warms up to 60-62 °F (16-17 ° C) above zero.

Undoubtedly, the advantage of biological agents is that, as we know, they are completely safe for humans and can be treated, in fact, in unlimited quantities, until the pest is completely eliminated.

This is important in this case because the death period of Apple ermine moth caterpillars can sometimes be up to a week after treatment. However, this is also a disadvantage – not everyone is patient enough to wait for the death of this dangerous insect for almost a week after the treatment.

Therefore, especially impatient people should use approved insecticides, but strictly follow the instructions on the package and use “Diazinon insecticide” to combat the caterpillars of the Apple ermine moth if they are just “stroking” the tree.

In addition, in cases where a large number of trees are affected, “New Phosphorus Organic Insecticide” can be used.” What are the advantages of the “new phosphorus organic insecticide”?

It has a gentler effect on the green canopy and does not leave chemical burn marks on the leaf discs. This drug can easily replace organochlorine compounds and up to 75% of Apple ermine moth caterpillars will be eliminated.

It is a big misconception to remove the spider’s encrustation prior to treatment with this agent. This envelope does not prevent the preparation from entering the caterpillar’s nest, as it only serves as a formidable defense against predators thinking that a large-sized spider lives there, but it has no power over the poison.

Additional fertilization in conjunction with drug treatment

It is possible and necessary to feed the plants at the same time as the dance moth control or to give them strength and increase their immunity by alternating treatments.

Usually use nitroglycerin dissolved in water in the amount of one tablespoon per bucket, it is taken to 2-3 liters per tree up to 5 years old, more than 5 years – 5-6 liters, one bucket is enough or several adult plants or four to five young plants.

If there is no nitroglycerin, you can dilute 1.5 tablespoons of urea in a bucket of water, and this solution treats the crown protrusions (leaves), which is carried out so-called foliar spraying. Immediately thereafter, the soil should be watered, one bucket under plants less than 5 years old and two buckets under older plants.

Attention! Change insecticides as often as possible, even if they are strong. It is possible that the Apple ermine moth adapts to the given insecticide and even has the opposite effect, i.e. accelerates its reproduction.

It is not necessary to increase the dose – just switch to another preparation, no less strong, with the same strict adherence to the dose and duration of treatment. As for Apple ermine moth, they usually do not get used to them and only one treatment is needed to eliminate them during their flight period. As for the caterpillars, sometimes as many as five or six treatments are required to eliminate them completely.

But what if you don’t use chemicals?

There is no doubt that insecticides are effective, but no one cancels their high toxicity. Take “persistent broad-spectrum insecticide” for example, it is allowed to treat only once a year, so this preparation is toxic.

So what to do? There is always a way, for example, you can use the so-called mechanical method to fight the Apple ermine moth. the method itself is simple, but of course, requires some effort and time.

To do this, you have to take a scraper, walk through the garden, remove all the shields planted by the Apple ermine moth, under which you will reliably conceal the ovipositor and burn them. This takes more time than effort.

Also, in early spring and September, try hosing down trees and leaves to create the strongest water pressure and simply crush Apple ermine moth caterpillars on the ground.

It is also possible to collect (rather than prune off) all diseased leaves with Apple ermine moth caterpillars, which can certainly be done on young, not too tall trees, or if you only have one or two trees in the garden, use ladders and steps.

This is effective during and at the end of the active flowering period. All collected material must be burned, preferably in a small digging trench outside the plot.

Sometimes it helps to apply a dispersion solution of almost any mineral oil to the shoots and central trunk during the opening of the buds to deal with the Apple ermine moth.

The use of traps for the fight is also effective. Of course, pheromone traps with sticky bases are placed in the area, to which moths stick (these are mainly male specimens of Apple ermine moth that fly towards the scent of the so-called females).

Certain parts of the efficiency possess ultraviolet radiation of the light trap. In the light of this trap, the moths fly away voluntarily, with a thin network in front of the “lantern”, which is under voltage and accumulates during the day from the solar cells. A small secretion is enough to kill an Apple ermine moth of any sex.

If you don’t want to spend the extra money, you can also make a bait-type trap yourself. To do this, you will need moisture-resistant cardboard and a piece of plywood. The board should necessarily be painted yellow – a signal to the moth – and then simply coated with glue for mice that will not dry. apple ermine moth flies to the signal, sticks, and dies.

You can also make or buy a capture tape; you should wrap it around the trunk of a tree; it is best to take sticky tape because caterpillars and bulky moths stick to it.

Natural enemies of Apple ermine moth

Apple ermine moth also has natural enemies that live in the garden – it is mainly insects: frass flies, wasps – which parasitize the caterpillars of moths, that is, lay eggs on them. But thanks to the use of pesticides in the garden, this “magical” parasite is now almost impossible to find.

The not-so-bad enemy of the Apple ermine moth is also the birds, for whom it is like a feast, but the birds are shy and get full rather quickly. Therefore, in order to attract them to the garden and reassure them, it is necessary to hang at least one nest per hundred square meters, not more, otherwise, there will be competition for territory.

Folk methods of Apple ermine moth control

Let’s choose the most effective folk measures to control the Apple ermine moth. so, bitter peppers, straight out of bed. You must grind the pods into the smallest parts, put on goggles and rubber gloves, then pour a liter of water and boil this explosive mixture for an hour.

After that, you have to put it in a tightly closed container for a day. After that, strain the resulting decoction well, trying not to let them get into your eyes, and pour it into any container, but preferably glass, so that you can see what is inside.

These containers must then be closed tightly and placed in the refrigerator with any deterrent labels glued on (God forbid, a child would swallow it and there would be screams).

To prepare a working solution, you must take half a liter of pepper concentrate and add half ahead of laundry soap as a sticker. And use this magic potion to treat the plant.

The second version is fly ash; you have to soak 100 grams of fly ash in a bucket of water for about a week, stirring occasionally, and then treat the affected plants.

Try it and see if you like it; it turns out that folk remedies may be more effective than insecticides. And share your experience with us in the comments of the article.

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