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Home > Plants, Pests & Pest Control > Insects & Pests > Light Brown Apple Moth

Light Brown Apple Moth

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Common names: Light Brown Apple Moth
Scientific name: Epiphyas postvittana (Walker)

History: The light brown apple moth is originally from southern Australia and has since invaded New Zealand, northern Europe and Hawaii. In February 2007, this pest was detected in Alameda County, California in the San Francisco Bay area. As of August 2009, this pest is not known to occur in Minnesota.

Description: After emerging from eggs laid on leaves, the pale green larvae begin to feed on leaves and fruits. Young larvae protect themselves by creating silken tunnels on the surface of leaves, whereas older larvae roll leaves or web multiple leaves together to create protected feeding areas. The larvae then develop into pupae within the rolled leaves. From the pupae, the adults emerge. Adults range in color from buff yellow to reddish brown or brown and have a 16- to 25-mm wing span.

Impacts: Like other moth and butterfly pests, it is the larval (caterpillar) stage that causes damage to plants. The larvae of this species consume leaf tissue and will damage fruits by feeding on the surface and occasionally tunneling. This pest has very broad feeding preferences. In fact, light brown apple moth has been documented feeding on more than 250 species of plants in over 50 plant families. Host plants include, but are not limited to: alder, alfalfa, apple, blackberry, blueberry, broad bean, broccoli, cabbage, chrysanthemum, clover, columbine, cotoneaster, currant, ferns, fir, geranium, grape, hawthorn, honey suckle, jasmine, mint, oak, peach, pear, pine, poplar, potato, privet, rose, spruce, strawberry, walnut, and willow.

Examples of color variation in light brown apple moth adults (Natasha Wright, Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, Bugwood.org)

Life stages and damage of light brown apple moth (NSW Department of Primary Industries)

Contact the Minnesota Department of Agriculture via Arrest the Pest if you suspect an infestation of light brown apple moth in Minnesota. 

Arrest the Pest icon, report sightings by emailing arrest.the.pest@state.mn.us or call 888-545-6684