How to Manage Pests

Pests in Gardens and Landscapes

Leafrollers

Several species of caterpillars roll leaves. They vary in time of appearance, head capsule color, and location in the state. Frequently the caterpillars wiggle backward vigorously when disturbed and drop from the leaf suspended by a silken thread. Moths have a bell-shaped outline when at rest.

Identification of species

Damage

On some vegetables and fruit trees, leaves and blossoms are eaten and tied together with webbing. Larvae do not burrow into fruit. However, young fruit may be deeply gouged and fall to the ground. Less severely damaged fruits reach maturity badly misshapen or with deep bronze-colored scars with a rough surface. On trees such as citrus, only mature fruit is damaged.

Solutions

Clean up gardens by removing host weeds and trash. Hand removal of webbed leaves and larvae can help control caterpillars in vegetables and fruit trees. Early harvest of fruit may also eliminate some damage. General predators and Trichogramma parasites may attack some eggs and larvae. Low levels do not require insecticide treatment during the season. Spinosad or Bacillus thuringiensis work well when caterpillars are small and able to feed on treated surfaces. On dormant trees remove mummy fruit before buds break. Oil sprays applied in dormancy just before buds open will help control leafroller eggs on deciduous fruit and nut trees.

For more information, see the Leafrollers on Ornamental and Fruit Trees Pest Note.

Fruittree leafroller
Fruittree leafroller

Leaves tied to fruit
Leaves tied to fruit

Damage to almond
Damage to almond


Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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