This section is from the book "Commercial Gardening Vol3", by John Weathers (the Editor). Also available from Amazon: Commercial Gardening, A Practical & Scientific Treatise For Market Gardeners.
This moth, in its caterpillar state (fig. 340), attacks the foliage and even fruit not only of apple, but also of such other fruit as pear, plum, currant, gooseberry, nuts, and raspberry. The Winter Moth is also found in hedgerows and in woods and forests, on Oak, Elm, Birch, Hawthorn, and Hazel. It is widely distributed over Britain, and does much harm. This insect belongs to a family known as Geometrinse, and the caterpillars are often spoken of as Measurers, Loopers, or Canker Worms.
The male moth is winged, the front pair being brownish grey, with darker wavy transverse lines, and the hind pair uniform grey; the wing expanse is about 1 1/4 in. The female is almost wingless, the four organs of flight being reduced to mere stumps, and thus the female is unable to fly.
This moth may appear any time between the first week in October and the second week in January. Both male and female come out of the ground. The males fly about in the orchards, gardens, and hedgerows; the females crawl up the trees to deposit their eggs. One female may lay 200 eggs. The eggs are at first green, but later become brick-dust red; the shell has a delicate sculpturing over it, and is thick. The females lay their ova on the wood or at the base of a bud, on a pruned surface, or even on stakes and rags by which young trees are supported, and also sometimes on the trunk.
The eggs hatch in March, and the small, dark caterpillars at once feed on the buds as they open. Later, they become green, with pale lines, and can be told by having three pairs of jointed legs in front, and only one pair of fleshy feet in the middle, and an anal pair. They mature in June, and then reach over 1 in. in length. The food is not only the foliage, for they also get into the blossom trusses, and spin them together and devour the strigs (pedicels) and blossom.
When mature they fall to the ground and enter it, then spin oval cases of silk covered outside with earth, in which they change to dark-brown pupae. These earthen cocoons are found from 1 to 3 in. deep in the soil.
The female moths may be caught by grease-banding. This is done by first tying a piece of grease-proof paper around the stem of the tree, and then smearing it with some sticky substance to catch the insects. The bands are best placed 4 ft. from the ground when possible, but at 2 ft. great numbers are caught. These bands should be in working order by the first week in October, and as other moths appear later than the Winter Moth (March Moth), should be kept sticky until mid-April. Tanglefoot is the most lasting preparation for this purpose, and may be put on old trees direct, as it is not a grease. Where banding has not or cannot be carried out, the trees should be sprayed with arsenate of lead, first soon after the buds have burst, and again after the blossom has fallen (see "Insecticides", Vol. I, p. 211, et seq.). Poultry are good in an orchard, as they eat the larvae as they fall; so do pigs.
Fig. 340. - Winter Moth (Cheinatobia brumata) 1, Male moth. 2, Female. 3, 4, Caterpillar (natural size).
"LANE'S PRINCE ALBERT".
"COX'S ORANGE PIPPIN".
BUSH APPLE TREES (SEVEN YEARS OLD).
Both in Messrs. Ambrose & Palmer's Market Garden, Shepperton, Middlesex.
[F. V. T.].