Codling Moth Control

Ampersand enhances the performance of three codling moth control products

Codling Moth

Dr. Alan Knight, Instar Biologicals and formerly of USDA, conducted a series of field trials in Wapato, Washington and reports that the addition of the adjuvant Ampersand enhanced the performance of three codling moth control products. Specifically, Ampersand improved the performance of codling moth granulosis virus, spinosad insecticide, and a micro-encapsulated sprayable codling moth pheromone.

Ampersand Results

Granulosis Virus + Ampersand:*


Reduction in damage


Reduction in stings


Reduction in entries

Spinosad Insecticide + Ampersand:*


Reduction in entries

Sprayable Mating Disruption Pheromone + Ampersand:*


Reduced captures of male moths

*Compared to active alone

Codling Moth Granulosis Virus

Codling moth granulosis virus is often used for early season codling moth control as it only has activity against codling moth. As such, codling moth granulosis virus has no adverse impact on beneficial insects that can assist in reducing codling moth populations. Dr. Knight compared codling moth control with codling moth granulosis virus applied alone, at 6 oz/100 gallons or mixed with Ampersand at 0.125% (1 pint/100 gallons). Four applications were made at weekly intervals. Each treatment was applied to 5 trees which were randomly selected in the orchard. To evaluate performance, 50 apples were randomly collected from each tree and examined for codling moth damage.

The graph below shows the results of the trial in terms of total number of damaged fruit, number of fruit with stings only (apples damaged by codling moth feeding but where there was no entry into the apple) and entries (codling moth caterpillars have entered into the fruit). Ampersand substantially improved the performance of the granulosis virus across all evaluation parameters. Ampersand reduced damaged fruit by more than 44% compared to the virus alone, reduced stings by 42% and reduced entries by 49%.

CM granulosis virus
CM granulosis virus + Ampersand @ 0.125%

Spinosad Insecticide

Spinosad insecticide is one of the few OMRI listed products available to apple producers for control of codling moth. Dr. Knight used the same trial design as described above for a study to evaluate Ampersand’s impact on codling moth control with spinosad insecticide. Spinosad insecticide was applied at 6.5 fl oz/100 gallons alone, tank mixed with Hi-Y Supreme Oil at 1% and tank mixed with Ampersand at 0.125% (1 pint/100 gallons).

The results of the trial are shown in the graph below. Dr. Knight reports that Ampersand substantially reduced the number of codling moth entries compared to Spinosad insecticide alone or tank mixed with Hi-Y Supreme Oil. Ampersand reduced the number of codling moth entries by more than 60% compared to Spinosad alone or tank mixed with Hi-Y Supreme Oil.

Spinosad @ 6.5 fl oz
Spinosad @ 6.5 fl oz + Hi-Y Supreme Oil @ 1%
Spinosad @ 6.5 fl oz + Ampersand @ 0.125%

Sprayable Codling Moth Mating Disruption Pheromone

Female codling moths emit a sex pheromone that attracts males and allows them to locate the female for the purpose of mating. Mating disruption is a widely used technique for reducing codling moth populations whereby the apple orchard is blanketed with the codling moth sex pheromone so that the male moth cannot find a female and consequently eggs are not produced. There are a number of systems used to dispense the pheromone but most have to be manually installed throughout the orchard and these devices must be refilled with the pheromone or replaced. While effective, these devices are labor intensive and can be substantially more expensive than chemical insecticides. Increasingly, a micro-encapsulated mating disruption product has been used which is sprayed onto trees, improving distribution of the sex pheromone in the orchard and substantially reducing labor costs. Dr. Knight evaluated the impact of the tank mix addition of either a spreader/sticker adjuvant applied at 0.125% (1 pint/100 gallons) or Ampersand at 0.125% (1 pint/100 gallons) with 100 ml of micro-encapsulated codling moth sex pheromone per 100 gallons of spray. Trees were sprayed a single time until runoff. Treatments were sprayed on plots that were made up of 25 trees. There were 3 plots used for each treatment. The effectiveness of the treatments was measured by counting the number of moths that were captured in moth traps baited with the sex pheromone. Moth counts were made once a week for four weeks.

“My studies support that Ampersand can improve the performance of three important codling moth control products.”

Dr. Alan Knight

Senior Researcher at Instar Biologicals and former USDA researcher

The results of the study are shown in the graph below. When Ampersand was mixed with the micro-encapsulated pheromone, the number of male moths captured was reduced by more than 75% compared to the untreated control. Ampersand improved the performance of the micro-encapsulated sex pheromone, as there were more than 40% fewer male moths in the Ampersand treated plots than in the plots treated with the micro-encapsulated sex pheromone alone. Ampersand also outperformed the micro-encapsulated sex pheromone when tank mixed with the latex spreader/sticker. Ampersand treated plots had 55% fewer male moths than the plots treated with the micro-encapsulated pheromone tank mixed with the spreader/sticker.

# Moths
+ BondMax @ 0.125%
+ Ampersand @ 0.125%