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The Pea Moth is a small moth with a wingspan of 12-16mm. It is brown with black and white bands on the edge of the wings. Adult moths lay their eggs on flowers or leaves of peas during June and July. These eggs hatch into larvae/ caterpillars within about 2 weeks, they then tunnel into the pea pods. The caterpillars are white initially but turn yellow with a brown head. Once inside the pod they develop and mature for about three weeks, they then cut themselves out of the pod and fall to the ground. In the ground they form cocoons and overwinter in the soil. The following spring they pupate and emerge from the soil as moths. There is only one generation per year.
The pea pods that are attacked by the caterpillars can be difficult to identify until the pod is opened, as the entrance holes made by the caterpillar are very small. The caterpillars feed on the developing seeds in the pod. Peas appear eaten and lots of frass is produced within the pod. Some pods will have two caterpillars in and the pods sometimes appear yellow and ripen earlier.
Dragonfli provides a Pea Moth pheromone trap, which incorporates a specific lure for male Pea moths. The castellation trap is easy to use and provides an early warning of Pea moth activity. The male moths are attracted by the pheromone lure and fly inside the trap, they then drop down onto the sticky pad inside the trap. The more male moths that are caught, the less there are available for mating with females. This can help reduce Pea moth egg laying. The trap is also provided with a sticky pad to place inside the trap, remove the paper to activat the glue, this helps contain the moths in the trap and can be removed to count catches.
The Pea Moth trap should be set up from mid- May onward. The pheromone lure supplied with the trap lasts 6-8 weeks. A new Pea Moth lure should be added to the trap each year and the trap can be re-used for several years
For professional pea growers , opt for the Pea Moth kit and seek advice from PGRO on thresholds and action to be taken.