Introduced Pests Outreach Project

Light Brown Apple Moth

Pest Alert: Light brown apple moth in California (click here for more information)

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Scientific Name: Epiphyas postvittana
Common Name: Light Brown Apple Moth

Known Hosts:
This moth is reported to feed and develop on more than 200 plant species in 120 plant genera in 50 families. Hosts include fruits (apples, blueberry, peach, pear, strawberry, grapes, citrus), broadleaved weeds (plantain), vegetables (cabbage, corn, pepper, tomatoes), trees (oak, willow, poplar, walnut) and ornamentals (roses, chrysanthemums, dahlia). See the E. postvittana mini risk assessment for a full list of host plants:

Key ID Features and Life Cycle:
The light brown apple moth has up to 4 generations per year in its native range, Australia.
Females have a wingspan of about 2 cm. The forewings are a yellowish-brown color with markings that are less distinct than in the male moth. (Figure 1)
Males are much smaller than females. The forewings of the male are yellowish-brown at the base of the wing with darker, red-brown markings towards the tip. Markings can be quite variable. (Figure 1)
Eggs are flattened and laid in groups on the upper surface of leaves. (Figure 2)
Young larvae are tiny (a few mm long) with a yellow-green body and brown head. Larvae are 10-18 mm in length at maturity and green in color. (Figure 3)

Description of damage:

Caterpillars may damage the plant by feeding on the leaves, buds, shoots, and fruit.

Larvae construct silken shelters to feed under (Figure 4). Older larvae roll together  leaves and buds. (Figure 5)
Damage to the fruit has the greatest economic impact. Larval feeding on the fruit causes irregular brown areas on the fruit surface. Larvae sometimes enter the fruit to feed.

Similar species or symptoms:
Other native tortricid moths such as redbanded leafroller and the obliquebanded leafroller are known to attack apples. See the following sources for more information on apple pests:

New England Pest Management Guide for Apples

Redbanded Leafroller (Argyrotaenia veultinana), Cornell Cooperative Extension

Obliquebanded Leafroller (Choristoneura rosaceana), Cornell - New York State Integrated Pest Management Program

Fact sheets and references:
Light brown apple moth project: California Department of Agriculture

Light brown apple moth: USDA, APHIS Plant Health

LBAM Identification Information: USDA APHIS Identification Technology Program

R.C Venette, E. E. Davis, M. DaCosta, H. Heisler, and. M Larson. 2003. Mini Risk Assessment Light brown apple moth, Epiphyas postvittana (Walker) [Lepidoptera: Tortricidae].

Light brown apple moth page from

Light Brown Apple Moth in Orchards- Department of Environment and Primary Industries, Victoria, Australia

Light Brown Apple Moth in Citrus- Department of Environment and Primary Industries, New South Wales, Australia

last reviewed December 22, 2014

Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources
The Massachusetts Introduced Pests Outreach Project is maintained by staff at the Massachusetts Dept. of Agricultural Resources. This website was made possible, in part, by a Cooperative Agreement from the United States Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS). It may not necessarily express APHIS' views.