Light Brown Apple Moth

Epiphyas postvittana, the light brown apple moth, is an agricultural pest native to Australia. The light brown apple moth was first introduced to the United States through fruit imports. The moth was also transported, primarily on strawberry shipments, to New Zealand, England and Ireland. The pest has appeared in Hawaii and California, where it threatens fruit and crop agriculture and native tree species.

The light brown apple moth belongs to the family Tortricidae within the Lepidoptera order. The mature moths are small and brown. These moths can produce up to four generations within a year, laying new eggs on the fruit or leaves of the host plant. The larvae typically stay on the undersides of the leaves of the host plant, rolling or sewing the leaves together to hide themselves between feedings. Adult moths fly around at dusk and lay their eggs during the daylight hours.

The light brown apple moth has the potential to feed upon 500 species of plants, including fruit and nursery stock. The pest can damage plant species by destroying, stunting the growth and deforming the plants and its seedlings. The light brown apple moth also threatens ornamental plants. The potential for this moth species to inhabit up to 80% of the continental United States makes the regulation of this pest extremely important. However, the light brown apple moth is almost indistinguishable from other brown moths and its identification must be performed by an expert. 

The larval stage of the light brown apple moth is a leaf-rolling caterpillar. The adult light brown apple moth is very indistinct.

Photos courtesy of USDA Flickr member Shane58

If you suspect you have found a light brown apple moth or an infested crop, please contact DPI at or 864-646-2140.

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