One of our readers just reached out to us because she discovered some white worm-like organisms inside her apricots, which are homegrown. The creatures are white with a black spot at one end. She would like us to identify the specimen if possible. She also wonders if the fruit is still edible. Here is the photo she sent us:
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This is a fantastic photograph! We can see how our reader would be shocked to slice open an apricot and see this little creature. So, what is this small, white specimen? We think there is a good chance that this is a Grapholitha molesta larvae, also known as an Apricot-Oriental fruit moth larvae.
Apricot-Oriental fruit moth larvae are found in all of the fruit growing regions of the United States, northern Mexico, and southern Canada. Populations also exist throughout Europe, Asia, Australia, and South America. These caterpillars are creamy white or light pink with black heads. They range in size, but at their largest are about half an inch long. While Apricot-Oriental fruit moth larvae typically tunnel into shoot terminals, they also sometimes bore into the fruit itself to feed. The presence of the larvae may cause leaves to wilt and die.
These larvae aren’t particularly harmful, so if the fruit still looks and tastes good, then our reader can remove the larvae and enjoy. However, if she has discovered a lot of these caterpillars, she might consider doing some pest management so that they don’t become a total nuisance. Since winter is approaching, there isn’t much she can do right now. The larvae will spend the winter in a silk webbing in tree crevices. In early spring, she can scout for larvae and wilted leaves to identify a possible infestation.
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To conclude, a reader discovered some white larvae in her apricots. We believe these are Apricot-Oriental caterpillars.