Light Brown Apple Moth
Light Brown Apple Moth
The caterpillars of light brown apple moths feed on the leaves and fruits of many important food plants: grapes, apples, oranges, pears and more. Unfortunately, they can damage the plants so much that the trees are harmed, and farmers can’t sell the fruit.
Moths are light yellow-brown and have a fuzzy abdomen.
The wings of the adult moths can have many different patterns. See how many different patterns you can spot!
These moths love oranges!
Grapes are a very important crop grown in parts of California where the light brown apple moth has been found. Larvae spin silken nests between the grapes which makes the grapes rot.
The light brown apple moth can eat many different types of plants, but apple trees are one of its favorites! The caterpillars chew up apple tree leaves and can damage the surface of the fruit.
These brown spots are the result of hungry caterpillars feeding on the fruit.
Light brown apple moth feeding can cause mold to grow on fruit.
Older light brown apple moth caterpillars often fold leaves over themselves to form a protective shelter while they feed, which is why they are called “leaf rollers.”
Caught in the act! The light brown apple moth caterpillar in the center of this photo has caused feeding damage on these young apples, which will likely make the apples unable to be sold later.
Light brown apple moth caterpillars eat the tissue between leaf veins, called “skeletonizing,” and roll leaves up tightly with silk cocoons to make shelters.
Adult male light brown apple moths find females using pheromones (a smell produced by female moths). Special plastic twist ties that smell like females are placed around crops to confuse the males and stop them from reproducing.
Knowing where light brown apple moths are is very important to stop them from spreading. House-shaped traps that have a pheromone bait only the adult males can smell are put in orchards and fields to keep track of them. Males come toward the smell and get stuck in the trap, and are counted later.
Plant nurseries in California have lost a lot of money due to the light brown apple moth. They are not allowed to have adults or caterpillars on plants that are shipped to other places, so they must keep a close watch for the moths and spray their plants with expensive special pesticides.
Many plants that the light brown apple moth eats are sold in nurseries for planting in homeowners’ yards and gardens. In places where light brown apple moth is found, plants must be sprayed with chemicals to ensure the moth is not moved to new places.
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Apples: Scott Bauer, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Bugwood.org.; Caterpillar on thumb: USDA, http://www.hungrypests.com/the-threat/light-brown-apple-moth.php.; Eggs, larva, pupa, wing patterns: Todd M. Gilligan and Marc E. Epstein, TortAI: Tortricids of Agricultural Importance, USDA APHIS PPQ, Bugwood.org.; Adult: Janet Graham.; Light brown apple moth: Steve Ogden, wildlife insight.; Oranges: luna715, Flickr.com; Grapes: Raul Liberwirth, Flickr.com.; Damage to apple, leaf damage, larva eating young apples: Department of Primary Industries and Water, Tasmania, Bugwood.org.; Damage to strawberries: Steven Kolke, UCCE, http://ucanr.edu/blogs/strawberries_caneberries/index.cfm?tagname=grey mold.; Light brown apple moth trap: Hillary Thomas, UC Davis, http://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=3008.; Light brown apple moth twist tie: UCCE Santa Cruz http://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=3794.; Applying pesticides: Eugene E. Nelson, Bugwood.org.; Nursery plants: Rachel McCarthy, Cornell University, Bugwood.org.