Cadra figulilella

Cadra figulilella (Gregson)

Taxonomic placing: Insecta, Holometabola, Lepidoptera, Pyralidae.

Common name: Raisin moth.

Geographical distribution: East Mediterranean region, North America, Australia.

Host plants: Polyphagous, in the Middle East occurring mostly on date palms, but the pest also feeds on drying and dried fruits, fallen figs and damaged or moldy clusters of grapes on vines.

Morphology: The adults are about 1 cm long, brown-grey, hindwings with short fringes. The larvae are pink, with four rows of purple spots along the back, the head and posterior segment are brown, 1.0-1.5 cm long.

Life cycle: The larvae develop continuously throughout the year, within fruits on the trees or rotting on the ground. Thus the pest is in plantations the year around, enabling its presence there without the need for alternative hosts. At 30ºC development of a generation requires about 7-9 weeks. The web-covered, brown pupae are usually hidden within cocoons on the trees or in the upper soil layers, near the vine trunks. The adults are short-lived, a female laying about 160 (range 100-250) eggs. The pest raises 3-4 annual generations,

Economic importance: A pest of date fruits in the field and of dried dates, almonds, carobs and raisins in storage. In the orchard dates are infested as soon as they ripen, the attack continuing for only a few weeks, until harvest. The larvae develop within the fruit even in storage. Damage is due to larval burrowing inside the fruit, contaminating it and staying therein even after fumigation. Total injury to crops may come to 50%.


Monitoring: Due to the fact that infestation of dates on the trees occurs only during the 6-8 weeks when the fruit ripens, precise timing of pesticide application, at the beginning of the attack, is essential for chemical control; killing the larvae after they had entered the fruit is impossible. Populations are monitored with sex pheromone traps, best results being obtained with traps hung on palm trunks at the height of 2-3 meters. Pesticides should be applied at the early increase in trap catch.

Horticultural methods: Covering fruit bunches with plastic, dense-mesh nets; orchard sanitation (removal of dropped fruits, often by grazing horses and donkeys) and early harvesting. This shortens the exposure period of early-ripening date varieties, when the fruits are vulnerable. In stored almonds, carobs and raisins the moth may be controlled by keeping the fruit at lowered temperatures (10ºC) or in oxygen-controlled atmospheres (5% O2).

Chemical control: Organophosphates provided pest control in the pest, but as the pest became resistant to these chemicals, pyrethroids came into use. However, their use in date plantations should be avoided as much as possible, in order to preserve the natural enemies of other pests,


Blumberg, D. 2008. Review: Date palm arthropod pests and their management in Israel. Phytoparasitica 36: 411-448.

Donahaye, E. and Calderon, M. 1964. Survey of insects infesting dates in storage in Israel. Israel Journal of Agricultural Research 14: 97-100.

Johnson, J.A., Vail, P.V., Brandl, D.G., Tebbets, J.S. and Valero, K.A. 2002. Integration of nonchemical treatments for control of postharvest pyralid moths (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) in almonds and raisins. Journal of Economic Entomology 95: 190-199.

Kehat, M., Blumberg, D. and Greenberg, S. 1969. Experiments on the control of the raisin moth, Cadra figulilella Gregs. (Phyticidae, Pyralidae), on dates in Israel. Israel Journal of Agricultural Research 19: 121-128.

Kehat, M., Eitam, A., Dunkelblum, E., Anshelevich, L. and Gordon, D. 1992. Sex-pheromone traps for detecting and monitoring the raisin moth, Cadra figulilella, in date palm plantations. Phytoparasitica 20: 99-106.

Perring, T.M. and Justin E. Nay, J.E. 2015. Evaluation of bunch protectors for preventing insect infestation and preserving yield and fruit quality of dates, Phoenix dactylifera L. Journal of Economic Entomology 108: 654-661.