Light Brown Apple Moth

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Light Brown Apple Moth

Scientific Name

Epiphyas postvittana

Fruit trees can be stressed out by too many hungry caterpillars
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Hero Nate

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. 

Nate Green
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LBAM larva
Light Brown Apple Moth
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Light Brown Apple Moth
Light Brown Apple Moth
Meet the Moth

Moths are light yellow-brown and have a fuzzy abdomen.

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LBAM adult

The wings of the adult moths can have many different patterns. See how many different patterns you can spot!

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Aponi looking back
The Moth's Favorite Fruits

These moths love oranges! 

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Light Brown Apple 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.

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Grapes

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. 

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apples
Plants in Trouble I

These brown spots are the result of hungry caterpillars feeding on the fruit. 

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Light brown apple moth feeding can cause mold to grow on fruit. 

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Light Brown Apple Moth
Plants in Trouble II

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.”

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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.

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Light brown apple moth caterpillars eat the tissue between leaf veins, called “skeletonizing,” and roll leaves up tightly with silk cocoons to make shelters.

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Control

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.

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pheromone deterrent for light brown apple moth

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. 

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light brown apple moth trap
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Light Brown Apple Moth
Nursery Plants

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.

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nursery plants

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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spraying plants for light brown apple moth
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Light Brown Apple Moth

Are you still curious about
the light brown apple moth?

Click the button below to find more information and connect with the experts.

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.comGrapes: 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.

 

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