Argyresthia pruniella (Clerck) - Cherry Fruit Moth

Systematic position.

Class Insecta, order Lepidoptera, family Argyresthiidae, genus Argyresthia.


Argyresthia ephippella (F.), A. ephippiella auct.

Biological group.

This is an oligophagous pest of stone-fruit rosaceous cultures.

Morphology and biology.

Forewings are reddish-brown with a white stripe along hind margin and dark cross stripe along the middle part (wingspan 10-12 mm). Hind-wings are very narrow, with long fringe. Eggs are oval, olive-green, with black dots. Caterpillar is whitish at birth, later chartreuse, with brown head, pronotal and anal plates. Pupa is yellow. Mature caterpillar winters within egg capsule. Female lays eggs one by one, or in groups of 2-3 eggs in a batch, in axils of buds, under bud scales or in bark cracks. Fertility does not exceed 30 eggs. In the spring young caterpillars penetrate into flower or leaf buds, completely eating them away in one month. Later they move on to buds and flowers, eating stamens and pistils, and also lateral parts of ovaries. They sometimes cause damage to young shoots, making holes inside. Less often the shoots are plaited with threads, and half-open gnawed leaves become partly dry. Development of caterpillars lasts 28-41 days. Caterpillar pupates in a dense two-layer cocoon in the ground, less often in bark cracks of trees. Dormant stage lasts 40-50 days; pupae stage lasts about half of this period.


The species is known in Europe and Asia Minor. In the former USSR it is found in the European part from Karelia to Crimea.


This is a monovoltine species. Hatching of caterpillars occurs in the spring from the end of March until the middle of April, depending on weather conditions, during the swelling of the buds of host plants. In the beginning of May the caterpillars fall to the ground, along with dead flowers and shoots, where they pupate. Moths are found throughout the entire summer; mass flight is observed from the end of June until the end of July.

Economic significance.

Some years the caterpillars cause major harm to cherry, destroying up to 80-90% of buds. Sweet cherry, plum, apricot, peach, and sloe, apple (sometimes), pear, hawthorn, mountain ash, and hazel are also among the host plants for this species. One caterpillar can destroy up to 7 flowers.

Control measures.

Agronomical control measures in gardens include inter-row treatment of ground in the summer in order to destroy caterpillars and pupae. Biological control measures include the application of biological preparations. Chemical control measures include insecticide treatments of fruiters during swelling of leaf and flower buds in order to destroy the caterpillars.

Reference citations:

Belosel.skaya Z.G. 1952. Argyresthia ephippella F. as a pest of cherry and plums. Entomologicheskoe obozrenie, 32: 86-92. (In Russian)
Gershenzon Z.S. 1974a. Family Argyresthiidae. In: Vasil.ev V.P., ed. Pests of agricultural crops and forest plantations. V. 2. Arthropods. Kiev: Urozhai. 234-235 p. (In Russian)
Gershenzon Z.S. 1974b. Yponomeutidae, Argyresthiidae. In: Puchkov V.G., ed. Fauna of Ukraine. V. 15(6). Kiev: Naukova Dumka. 132 p. (In Ukrainian)
Savkovskii P.P. 1976. Atlas of the pests of fruit and berry plants. Kiev: Urozhai. 207 p. (In Russian)
Sinev S.Yu. 1994. Family Argyresthiidae. In: Kuznetsov V.I., ed. Insects and mites - pests of agricultural plants. V. 3(1). Lepidoptera. St. Petersburg: Nauka. 254-259 p. (In Russian)
Vasil.ev V.P., Livshits I.Z. 1984. Pests of fruit crops. Moscow: Kolos. 399 p. (In Russian)

© Ovsyannikova E.I., Grichanov I.Ya.

Photo © V.V.Neymorovets (VIZR)

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