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Pests of Citrus :: Major Pests :: Fruit piercing moths


5. Fruit piercing moths: Othreis materna, O. fullonica, O. ancilla (Noctuidae:  Lepidoptera) 

Distribution and Status: Throughout India

Host range: Citrus, mango, grapes and apple

Damage symptoms

Adult moth pierces the fruits for sucking the juice and makes characteristic pin-hole damage in fruits.  Bacterial and fungal infections take place at the site of attack.  Whole fruit turns yellow, drops from tree and looks like a premature fruit.  In severe cases, all fruits are lost.



Round and translucent eggs laid on wild plants and weeds like Tinospora cordifolia, Cocculus pendulus, C. hirsutus in and around citrus orchard.  Egg period two weeks. Larvae are semi-loopers with stout appearance and dorsal hump on the last segment of the body,  have distinct eye spots on head and yellow / red lateral spots. Their velvetty dark-brown back ground makes them cryptic. Full-grown larva assumes a characteristic snake like posture on disturbance, 5 – instars, larval period 4 weeks. Pupates in a pupal case made from leaf pieces and soil particles.   Pupa is thick and dark reddish brown with pupal period of two weeks.


O. fullonica

O. materna

O. ancilla

Adults have tripod black mark in the forewing and curved marking on hind wing.

Adults have three black spots on the fore wings and a circular spot in the hindwing

Adults have white bands in the middle fore wing




    • Destroy the weed host, Tinospora cordifolia, Cocculus pendulus, C. hirsutus in and around citrus orchard
    • Apply smoke  to repel adult moth
    • Operate light traps to attract adults.
    • Cover the fruit with perforated poly bags.
    • Set up food lures with rotten tomatoes (or) pieces of citrus fruits to collect and kill 
    • Bait with fermented molasses / jaggery (10 g/ L) + malathion 50 EC 1 ml/L or  kill moths with a bait containing gur 1 kg+ vinegar 60 g + lead arsenate 60 g + water 10 L. wide mouthed bottles @ 1 bottle per 10 trees tied to plants when the fruits are in unripe condition.
    • Dispose fallen fruits that attracts the moths
    • Spray with 2.5 kg of carbaryl  50 WP in 1000 L of water per ha at the time of maturity of fruits.