Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Prays oleae
(olive kernel borer)



Prays oleae (olive kernel borer)


  • Last modified
  • 29 March 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Pest
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Prays oleae
  • Preferred Common Name
  • olive kernel borer
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Arthropoda
  •       Subphylum: Uniramia
  •         Class: Insecta

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Larva of P. oleae feeding on olive leaves.
CaptionLarva of P. oleae feeding on olive leaves.
CopyrightAnnette Herz
Larva of P. oleae feeding on olive leaves.
LarvaLarva of P. oleae feeding on olive leaves.Annette Herz
TitleAdult moth of P. oleae (Museum set specimen)
Copyright©David Agassiz
Adult moth of P. oleae (Museum set specimen)©David Agassiz


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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Prays oleae Bernard, 1788

Preferred Common Name

  • olive kernel borer

Other Scientific Names

  • Oecophora adspersella Heydenreich, 1851
  • Oecophora moschettinella Costa, 1839
  • Prays oleella Fabricius, 1794
  • Prays oleellus Stainton, 1867
  • Tinea accessella Passerini, 1832
  • Tinea olivella Briganti, 1822

International Common Names

  • English: olive moth
  • Spanish: polilla del olivo; popilla de oliva
  • French: teigne de l'olivier
  • Russian: maslichnaya mol

Local Common Names

  • Germany: Olivenmotte
  • Greece: pyrinotritis; yponomeftis tis eleas
  • Israel: ash hazayit
  • Italy: tignola dell'olivo
  • Turkey: zeytu grivesi

EPPO code

  • PRAYOL (Prays oleae)

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Metazoa
  •         Phylum: Arthropoda
  •             Subphylum: Uniramia
  •                 Class: Insecta
  •                     Order: Lepidoptera
  •                         Family: Yponomeutidae
  •                             Genus: Prays
  •                                 Species: Prays oleae

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes


ArmeniaPresentEPPO, 2014
AzerbaijanPresentEPPO, 2014
Georgia (Republic of)PresentPelekassis, 1962; EPPO, 2014
IsraelPresentPelekassis, 1962; EPPO, 2014
LebanonPresentPelekassis, 1962; EPPO, 2014
SyriaPresentPelekassis, 1962; EPPO, 2014
TurkeyPresentPelekassis, 1962; EPPO, 2014


AlgeriaPresentPelekassis, 1962; EPPO, 2014
EgyptPresentPelekassis, 1962; EPPO, 2014
LibyaPresentPelekassis, 1962; EPPO, 2014
MoroccoPresentPelekassis, 1962; EPPO, 2014
-Canary IslandsPresentPelekassis, 1962; EPPO, 2014
TunisiaPresentPelekassis, 1962; EPPO, 2014


AlbaniaPresentKarsholt and Razowski, 1996
AustriaPresentKarsholt and Razowski, 1996
CroatiaPresentKatalinic et al., 1998; EPPO, 2014
CyprusWidespreadPelekassis, 1962; EPPO, 2014
DenmarkPresentBuhl et al., 2001
FranceRestricted distributionPelekassis, 1962; Karsholt and Razowski, 1996; EPPO, 2014
-CorsicaPresentKarsholt and Razowski, 1996; EPPO, 2014
GreeceWidespreadPelekassis, 1962; Karsholt and Razowski, 1996; EPPO, 2014
-CretePresentEPPO, 2014
ItalyPresentPelekassis,1962; Karsholt and Razowski, 1996; EPPO, 2014
-SardiniaPresentEPPO, 2014
-SicilyPresentEPPO, 2014
MaltaPresentPelekassis,1962; Karsholt and Razowski, 1996; EPPO, 2014
MontenegroWidespreadEPPO, 2014
PortugalWidespreadPelekassis,1962; Karsholt and Razowski, 1996; EPPO, 2014
Russian FederationRestricted distributionEPPO, 2014
-Russia (Europe)Restricted distributionEPPO, 2014
-Southern RussiaPresentPelekassis,1962; Karsholt and Razowski, 1996
SloveniaPresentJancar, 2003
SpainWidespreadPelekassis,1962; Karsholt and Razowski, 1996; EPPO, 2014
UKPresent, few occurrencesIntroducedMitchell, 2009
UkrainePresentEPPO, 2014
Yugoslavia (former)PresentPelekassis,1962; Karsholt and Razowski, 1996

Growth Stages

Top of page Flowering stage, Fruiting stage, Vegetative growing stage

List of Symptoms/Signs

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SignLife StagesType
Fruit / frass visible
Fruit / internal feeding
Fruit / premature drop
Inflorescence / external feeding
Inflorescence / frass visible
Inflorescence / webbing
Leaves / frass visible
Leaves / internal feeding

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Ageniaspis fuscicollis Parasite Mediterranean region
Ageniaspis fuscicollis praysincola Parasite Eggs
Aleiodes testaceus Parasite Larvae Israel olives
Apanteles xanthostigma Parasite Larvae
Bacillus thuringiensis Pathogen Larvae USSR
Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki Pathogen Larvae
Bacillus thuringiensis thuringiensis Pathogen Larvae
Chelonus eleaphilus Parasite Eggs France; Germany; Greece; Mediterranean region olives
Chrysoperla carnea Predator Eggs/Larvae/Pupae Spain
Diadegma armillatum Parasite Larvae
Elasmus flabellatus Parasite Eggs
Elasmus steffani Parasite
Mallada flavifrons Predator Eggs
Mallada picteti Predator Eggs
Trichogramma dendrolimi Parasite
Trichogramma oleae Parasite Eggs
Xanthandrus comtus Predator

Plant Trade

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Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transportPest stagesBorne internallyBorne externallyVisibility of pest or symptoms
Flowers/Inflorescences/Cones/Calyx eggs; larvae Yes Yes Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye
Fruits (inc. pods) eggs Yes Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye
Leaves larvae Yes Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye
Plant parts not known to carry the pest in trade/transport
Growing medium accompanying plants
Seedlings/Micropropagated plants
Stems (above ground)/Shoots/Trunks/Branches
True seeds (inc. grain)


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Afellah M; Smaili C; El-Hajoui A, 1998. Factors influencing mortality and predation of eggs of Prays oleae Bern. (Lep., Hyponom.) in the Sais region of Morocco. Mededelingen - Faculteit Landbouwkundige en Toegepaste Biologische Wetenschappen, Universiteit Gent, 63(2a):345-355; 14 ref.

Anon, 1999. Bouteillan. Arboriculture Fruitie^grave~re, No. 533:71.

Anon, 2000. Aglandau. Arboriculture Fruitie^grave~re, No. 534:71.

Apostolov VI, 1990. The olive moth. Zashchita Rastenii, No. 7:27.

Arambourg Y; Pralavorio R, 1978. Note on certain morphological characters of Prays oleae Bern. and of Prays citri Mil. (Lep. Hyponomeutidae). Revue de Zoologie Agricole et de Pathologie Vegetale, 77(4):143-146

Arias A; Nieto J; Bueno M, 1990. Damage and control of the carpophagous generation of Prays oleae Bern. in Tierra de Barros (Badajoz). Boletin de Sanidad Vegetal, Plagas, 16(1):269-284

Bento A; Lopes J; Torres L; Passos-Carvalho P; Metzidakis IT; Voyiatzis DG, 1999. Biological control of Prays oleae (Bern.) by chrysopids in Tras-os-Montes region (northeastern Portugal). Proceedings of the Third International Symposium on Olive Growing, Chania, Crete, Greece, 22-26 September 1997, Volume 2. Acta-Horticulturae, 474:535-539.

Buhl O; Falck P; Jørgensen B; Karsholt O; Larsen K; Vilhelmsen F, 2001. Records of Microlepidoptera from Denmark in 2000 (Lepidoptera). (Fund af smasommerfugle fra Danmark i 2000 (Lepidoptera).) Entomologiske Meddelelser, 69(2):69-79.

Carter DJ, 1984. Pest Lepidoptera of Europe with special reference to the British Isles. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Dr. W. Junk.

CIE, 1961. Distribution Maps of Pests. Series A, No. 123. Prays oleellus (F.). Wallingford, UK: CAB International.

Cortés JA; Borrero S, 1998. Control trials for olive moth. Agricultura, Revista Agropecuaria, 67(796):904-906; 3 ref.

Delrio G, 1995. Controllo integrato dei fitofagi dell'olivo. Informatore Fitopatologico, 45:9-15.

Delrio G; Lentini A; Bandino G; Moro C; Sedda P, 1996. Preliminary observations on the resistance of some olive cultivars to attack by the carpophagous generation of Prays oleae. Atti del convegno. L'olivicoltura mediterranea: stato e prospettive della coltura e della ricerca. Rende (CS), Italy, 26-28 gennaio 1995., 561-568; 6 ref.

El-Saadany G; Badawy A; Abdel-Fattah MI; Hayder F, 1978. Some ecological aspects of the kernel olive moth, Prays oleellus Fab., in Egypt. Bulletin de la Societe Entomologique d'Egypte, No. 62:127-133

EPPO, 2014. PQR database. Paris, France: European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization.

Iannotta N; Giordano G; Rende G, 1998. The olive moth in Calabria. Informatore Agrario, 54(26):69-73.

Jancar M, 2003. Integrated protection of olive. (Integrirano varstvo oljk.) SAD, Revija za Sadjarstvo, Vinogradnistvo in Vinarstvo, 14(6):5-8.

Jardak T; Ksantini M, 1986. Control trials against the leaf-eating generation of Prays oleae by Bacillus thuringiensis and diflubenzuron. Bulletin OEPP, 16(2):403-406.

Karsholt O; Razowski J, 1996. The Lepidoptera of Europe: a distributional checklist. Stenstrup, Denmark: Apollo Books, 380 pp.

Katalinic M; Kacic S; Zanic K, 1998. The efficiency of insect growth regulator (diflubenzuron, fenoxycarb and hexaflumuron) and microbial insecticide (Bacillus thuringiensis) on olive-kernel borer. Fragmenta Phytomedica et Herbologica, 26(1/2):87-93; 23 ref.

Katsoyannos P, 1992. Olive pests and their control in the Near East. FAO Plant Production and Protection Paper Rome, Italy; Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), No. 115:ix + 178 pp.

Kaya M; Yalcin E; Soydanbay M; Kahya C, 1987. Investigations on population fluctuations, economic threshold and methods of control of olive moth (Prays oleae, Bern.) in the pgean region of Turkey. Doga, Tarim ve Ormancilik, 11(1):67-85

Liber H; Niccoli A, 1988. Observations on the effectiveness of an attractant food spray in increasing chrysopid predation on Prays oleae (Bern.) eggs. Redia, 71(2):467-482

Lopez-Villata MC; Dominguez de la Concha MC, 1989. Pests and diseases of olives. Agricultura (Madrid), 57(682):440-443

Loussert R; Brousse G, 1978. The olive tree. L'olivier. G.P. Maisonneuve et Larose. Paris France, xi + 447 pp.

Mazomenos BE; Ortiz A; Mazomenos-Pantazi A; Stefanou D; Stavrakis N; Karapati C; Fountoulakis M, 1999. Mating disruption for the control of the olive moth, Prays oleae (Bern) (Lep., Yponomeutidae) with the major sex pheromone component. Journal of Applied Entomology, 123(4):247-254; 21 ref.

McEwen PK; Morris T, 1998. Reduced attack by the olive moth (Prays oleae) following application of artificial food to the olive tree canopy. Journal of Applied Entomology, 122(2/3):89-91; 13 ref.

Mitchell A, 2009. Prays oleae (Bernard) (Lepidoptera, Yponomeutidae) - A new Yponomeutid to Britain and Ireland. British Leafminers Newsletter, 1-2.

Morris TI; Campos M; Kidd NAC; Jervis MA; Symondson WOC, 1999. Dynamics of the predatory arthropod community in Spanish olive groves. Agricultural and Forest Entomology, 1(3):219-228; 31 ref.

Morris TI; Campos M; Kidd NAC; Symondson WOC, 1999. What is consuming Prays oleae (Bernard) (Lep.: Yponomeutidae) and when: a serological solution?. Crop Protection, 18(1):17-22; 42 ref.

Pelekassis CED, 1962. A contribution to the study of nomenclature, taxonomy, biology, ecology and the natural parasitization of the olive kernel borer (Prays oleae (Bernard) Lesne). Annales de l'Institut Phytopathologique Benaki, 4:181-308.

Ramos P; Campos M; Ramos JM, 1998. Long-term study on the evaluation of yield and economic losses caused by Prays oleae Bern. in the olive crop of Granada (southern Spain). Crop Protection, 17(8):645-647; 9 ref.

Sobreiro JB, 1993. Guide for the phytosanitary protection of olives. Guias e Cata^acute~logos - Instituto de Protecc^cedilla~a^tilde~o da Produc^cedilla~a^tilde~o Agro-Alimentar, No. 4:iii + 55 pp.; 11 ref.

Stainton HT, 1870. The Natural History of the Tineina. XI. London, Paris & Berlin. J van Voorst.

Therios I, 2008. Pests and diseases. In: Olives [ed. by Therios, I.]. Wallingford, UK: CABI, 335-352.

Yayla A, 1983. Preliminary studies on olive pests and the establishment of their natural enemies in Antalya Province. Bitki Koruma Bulteni, 23(4):188-206

Distribution Maps

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