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Citrus Pests


Light brown apple moth


Scientific name


Epiphyas postvittana (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae)

Other common names



Similar species


The light brown apple moth (LBAM) is a species that does not have many distinguishing characteristics. For this reason, many other native tortricids and light brown moths are mistaken for LBAM. These are just a few of the most common moths mistaken for LBAM: Achyra occidentalis, Archips argyrospila, Argyrotaenia franciscana, Argyrotaenia citrana, Clepsis fucana, Clepsis peritana, Henricus umbrabasanus, Choristoneura rosaceana, and Argyrotaenia franciscana.



United States: California and Hawaii.

Worldwide: Australia, Ireland, New Caledonia, and New Zealand.

Native to Australia.

Diagnostic characteristics

  • Forewing length is between 6 - 13 mm (0.2- 0.5 in.).
  • Soft, scaled wings that cover the body at rest.
  • Wing color varies from light brown to mottled brown.
  • Dark tips may occur on wings.
  • Sexually dimorphic, males are usually smaller than females.
  • Pupae have two rows of dorsal spines per segment and are usually brown.
  • 5 - 6 larval instars.
  • Mature larvae are 10 - 20 mm (0.4 - 0.7 in.) in length.
  • Yellowish-green larvae, but color varies with instar and host plant.
  • Well-developed anal comb with 7 - 8 prongs.
  • Younger instars will feed on the undersides of leaves within a silk chamber, and later instars may fold a leaf over or create a nest of several leaves webbed together.
  • Eggs are flat, oval, translucent, and appear to be pale yellow to white.
  • Egg masses may contain 4 - 96 eggs.


Citrus hosts

All Citrus species and their hybrids.

Non-citrus hosts

The complete host plant list for LBAM contains 1,000 plant species and includes more than 250 fruits and vegetables. Agricultural crops are a main host of this pest. A partial list includes:

  • apple, Malus domestica
  • avocado, Persea americana
  • blueberry, Vaccinium spp.
  • corn, Zea mays
  • grape, Vitis spp.
  • kiwifruit, Actinidia spp.
  • mango, Mangifera indica
  • oak, Quercus spp.
  • peach, Prunus spp.
  • pear, Pyrus spp.
  • persimmon, Diospyros spp.
  • strawberry, Fragaria spp.
  • tomato, Solanum lycopersicum

Host damage


Larvae may feed on flower buds and shoots.


Larval feeding on the fruit causes irregular brown areas.


Larvae usually found on the upper side of smooth leaves. Female moths will usually refrain from depositing eggs on hairy leaves.



Adults are nocturnal and live 2 - 3 weeks. In some areas, adults can be seen flying year round, depending on latitude. In California, LBAM adults fly continuously from March to November. Eggs are deposited on the surface of a leaf. Females can deposit between 120 - 500 eggs in her lifetime. Eggs hatch in about 8- 9 days. Larvae feed on leaves, flowers, and fruit. On leaves, they may spin a protective silken cocoon while feeding or roll the edge of the leaf. Pupae may appear green or brown and can be found in leaf rolls. Adult emergence from pupae may occur over a 10 - 30 day period, depending upon temperature. Two to four generations occur per year.



Damage to the fruit has the largest economic impact.

California has started an eradication plan that includes pheromone sprays, pesticide oils, and insect growth regulators to stop the possible spread of this major pest.



(APHIS/PPQ) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service/Plant Protection and Quarantine. 2012. Light brown apple moth. (

(NAPPO) North American Plant Protection Organization. 2012. Light Brown Apple Moth, Epiphyas postvittana. (

(USDA/NISIC) United States Department Agriculture / National Invasive Speices Information Center. 2012. Light brown apple moth. (



Weeks, J.A. , K.W. Martin, A.C. Hodges, and N.C. Leppla


Citrus Pests
Content last updated June, 2012