Light Brown Apple Moth

Common Name:  Light Brown Apple Moth
Latin Name: Epiphyas postvittana
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Tortricidae
Main Host(s): Peaches, cherries, apples, pears, but also berries and
many vegetables, ornamental, nursery and greenhouse plants.

Life Cycle

The light brown apple moth (LBAM) is quite common in its native Australia and New Zealand. LBAM is known to have a large number and variety of plant hosts. These include fruit trees such as peaches, cherries, apples, pears, but also berries and many vegetables, ornamental, nursery and greenhouse plants. It was discovered in California, mostly in coastal areas, in 2007. Since the first observations of the pest in California, many states are on the alert for LBAM.

Source: Department of Primary Industries and Water, Tasmania Archive,

In both appearance and behavior, the LBAM is similar to other Leafroller species in the Tortricidae family. Adult moths emerge after one to three weeks of pupation and mate soon after emergence. Females begin to lay eggs two to three days after emerging, depositing masses of 50 eggs or more at night on the upper side of leaves.

Larvae seem to survive moderate winters in weedy host plants or old fruit and will pupate in spring, producing the first adult summer generation. Several generations occur during the year with up to four possible generations in warmer climates.

Impact & Damage

The large number of hosts that caterpillars of LBAM can feed and survive on is a big problem for efficient control. Monitoring for this pest is absolutely critical not only because larvae can do a great deal of damage, but also because the pest penetrates plant and fruiting structures such as a grape bunch and create an entry point for Botrytis or other diseases.

Recommended Control

DiPelGood sanitation practices in orchards and vineyards during the dormant season is the first line of defense to prevent a buildup of larvae. Pheromone traps have been used to monitor its spread and delineate quarantined areas. As with other leafrollers, this species is very susceptible to DiPel®, the world’s leading brand of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). Early application of DiPel is important to control the young larvae. Spray calibration should be carefully checked to be sure an adequate amount of the product is applied.

References & Sources: