Description of the Pest
The adult navel orangeworm moth is about 0.6 inch long and has short snoutlike projections from the front of the head. It is grayish brown in color with irregular silver and dark markings on the wings. Larvae are caterpillars that vary in color from white to a deep pink and are up to 0.8 inch in length when mature. A crescent-shaped marking on each side of the second segment behind the head distinguishes this worm from others. Eggs are white when laid, but turn pink within a few days. They are usually laid in fissures on the ripening fruit or under the scales around the eye.
Damage is caused when the worm feeds in the fruit.
Navel orangeworms have a wide host range, primarily infesting damaged and overripe fruits and nuts. They overwinter in mummified fruits hanging on trees. Complete harvest rapidly and early, and remove and destroy leftover cull fruit. Clean up surrounding hosts such as almonds during the winter as well. Chemicals applied for the control of driedfruit beetles may partially control navel orangeworm populations. No chemical control guidelines have been developed for navel orangeworm in figs.
An introduced parasite, Goniozus legneri, has been released with limited success into some almond orchards for control of navel orangeworm. No data has been developed for the efficacy of the wasp in fig orchards.