Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) are the targets of neonicotinoids and spinosads, two insecticides used in orchards to effectively control codling moth, Cydia pomonella (L.)(Lepidoptera: Tortricidae). Orchardists in Washington State are concerned about the possibility of codling moth field populations developing resistance to these two insecticides. In an effort to help mitigate this issue, we initiated a project to identify and characterize codling moth nAChR subunits expressed in heads. This study had two main goals; (i) identify transcripts from a codling moth head transcriptome that encode for nAChR subunits, and (ii) determine nAChR subunit expression profiles in various life stages of codling moth. From a codling moth head transcriptome, 24 transcripts encoding for 12 putative nAChR subunit classes were identified and verified by PCR amplification, cloning and sequence determination. Characterization of the deduced protein sequences encoded by putative nAChR transcripts revealed that they share the distinguishing features of the cys-loop ligand-gated ion channel superfamily with nine alpha-type subunits and three beta-type subunits identified. Phylogenetic analysis comparing these protein sequences to those of other insect nAChR subunits supports the identification of these proteins as nAChR subunits. Stage expression studies determined that there is clear differential expression of many of these subunits throughout the codling moth life cycle. The information from this study will be used in the future to monitor for potential target-site resistance mechanisms to neonicotinoids and spinosads in tolerant codling moth populations.