Cryptoblabes gnidiella

Cryptoblabes gnidiella (Millière)

Taxonomic placing: Insecta, Holometabola, Lepidoptera, Pyralidae.

Common name: Honeydew moth.

Geographic distribution: The Mediterranean basin, Middle and South America, India and Thailand, New Zealand.

Host plants: This insect has been reported from over 30 plant families. In the Middle East it is especially important on citrus, grapes and avocado.

Morphology: The moth is about 7 mm in length, its forewings grey-brown with two red longitudinal stripes, hindwings grey. The larva is red-brown, with two darker longitudinal stripes, its dorsum with dark spots that bear setae, length up to 14 mm.

Life Cycle: Overwintering moths emerge in March-April and produce the first of the 5-6 annual generations.The female is attracted to and feeds on the honeydew excreted by mealybugs infesting various fruits and it produces up to 150 eggs there. The larvae feed on the honeydew and but may also feed on the underlying fruit. They pupate at their feeding site. In avocado groves the pests overwinter as larvae, on fresh or dry fruits or leaves, or on other dry fruits.

Economic importance: The larvae (caterpillars) usually feed on the honeydew excreted by mealybugs (Pseudococcidae) infesting citrus, but may also bore into one or more fruits, such as apple or grapes, thus becoming serious pests.

Management: Adult populations infesting avocado were monitored with traps baited with a synthetic sex pheromone, and may be controlled with pesticides based on Bacillus thuringiensis. Other control measures are seldom needed.


Anshelevich, L., Kehat, M., Dunkelblum, E. and Greenberg, S. 1993. Sex pheromone traps for monitoring the honeydew moth, Cryptoblabes gnidiella: effect of pheromone components, pheromone dose, field aging of dispenser, and type of trap on male catches. Phytoparasitica 21:189-198.

Argov, Y. and Gerson, U. 2011. Gracillariidae. Yponomeutidae and Pyralidae. In: Vacante, V. and Gerson, U. (eds) Integrated control of Citrus Pests in the Mediterranean Region. Bentham eBooks, pp. 223-230.

Bagnoli, B. Lucchi, A., Ricciardi, R. and Benelli G. 2019. What do we really know on the harmfulness of Cryptoblabes gnidiella (Millière) to grapevine? From ecology to pest management. Phytoparasitica 47: 1-15.

Ben-Yehuda, S., Wysoki, M. and Rosen D. 1992. Phenology of the honeydew moth, Cryptoblabes gnidiella (Milliere) (Lepidsoptera: Pyralidae), on avocado in Israel. Israel Journal of Entomology 25-26: 149-160.

Swirski, E., Wysoki, M. and Izhar, Y. 2002. Subtropical Fruits Pests in Israel. Fruit Board of Israel, pp. 285 (in Hebrew with an English abstract).