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Light brown apple moth (LBAM)
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Tortricidae
Scientific name: Epiphyas postvittana
Common name: light brown apple moth (LBAM)


light brown apple moth adult
Light brown apple moth adult male.
 
Identification
 
Adults: LBAM are small brown to brownish orange moths that are about 10 mm long when resting with wings folded. Males typically have a darker area on the distal half of the wings that is reddish brown. The adults are highly variable and may not look like the photo above.
Larvae: As young larvae they disperse to the undersides of host leaves. They construct rolled silken leaf shelters where they remain hidden in between feedings. As the larvae grow they move to new locations, rolling leaves or sewing several leaves together to form a larger shelter.
Eggs: Egg masses contain up to 50 eggs and are generally laid on leaves, although they are sometimes laid directly on fruit. Each egg is approximately 1mm in diameter. The masses are small, flat, and eggs overlap like shingles. They range in color from green to brown.
Pupae: Pupae can be found between leaves that are attached together with a thin webbed cocoon.

Adults, larvae, and other life stages are similar to other Tortricid species. As a result, identification can only be performed by a trained entomologist.


Damage: Damage caused by LBAM includes the destruction, stunting, or deformation of seedlings, damage to fruit tree crops, or the devaluation of ornamental plants. It has been reported as an economic pest of apples and grapes in New Zealand and Australia.

Impacts: This moth is of particular concern because of its broad host range and ability to
survive in a wide variety of climates. The moth’s presence in Oregon would likely lead to restrictions on shipping of plant material. Several countries, including Chile, Peru, South Africa, and South Korea, list LBAM as a quarantine pest and Canada lists it as a noxious pest.


Host plants: LBAM feeds primarily on pome and stone fruits (apple, pear, sweet cherry, apricot, nectarine, peach, plum, and hawthorne). However, LBAM are polyphagous insects and can survive by feeding on a wide range of host plants, including blackberry (and other cane berries), broccoli, butterfly bush, cabbage, camellia, cauliflower, clover, alfalfa, peas, beans, cottonwood, English walnut, grape, hops, ivy, mint, mustard, oak, pine, potato, rose, scotch broom, and willow. LBAM feeds on more than 250 plant species.


Distribution: The light brown apple moth is originally from Australia. It has become established in the British Isles, Hawaii, New Caledonia, and New Zealand and has recently been detected in Marin, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Napa, Santa Cruz, Monterey, Santa Clara, Solano, and Los Angeles counties in California. The light brown apple moth (LBAM) is not known from Oregon.
 
Biology and Life Cycle: Egg masses contain up to 50 eggs and are generally laid on leaves, although they are sometimes laid directly on fruit. Each egg is approximately 1mm in diameter. The masses are small, flat, and eggs overlap like shingles. They range in color from green to brown. Early instar larvae create a silk shelter on the leaf that they feed under. Later instars often create a rolled leaf shelter typical of the family and will feed on all parts of the leaf except the major veins. The white to pale green larvae pass through five to seven instars and grow to approximately 2cm in length. Over-wintering occurs in the larval stage. The pupal stage lasts two to three weeks inside the shelter of rolled up leaves. Adults fly at dusk and oviposition takes place during the day. Adult wingspan is about 2cm. Oviposition begins when females are two to three days old and can last 21 days. Females can lay over 1,000 eggs, although 100 to 500 is more typical. Up to four generations can occur in warmer regions of Australia.

How you can help: Please don’t transport any plant materials, including fruits and vegetables, to Oregon from California or from foreign locations.
 
What ODA is doing: ODA placed light brown apple moth traps in high risk counties in the state in 2003, 2004, and 2007. Placing traps allows ODA to detect any infestations when they are small and when they are more easily eliminated.
 
Links:
CDFA's light brown apple moth site
USDA light brown apple moth site
LBAM pest risk assessment (pdf, 814 KB)
 
Photo Credit: Natasha Wright, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Bugwood.org