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Light Brown Apple Moth

New Publication Available

New Publication from UC IPM

Field Identification Guide for Light Brown Apple Moth in Nurseries.  

This document is geared to assist field inspectors and nursery scouts that need to identify suspect LBAM larvae in the field.   There are printed guides available for distribution, a pdf document available for download and a 13 minute video training on the UC IPM website. This project was supported in part by a CDFA Specialty Crop Block Grant.

Authors: Steven A. Tjosvold, Neal B. Murray, University of California Cooperative Extension; Marc Epstein, Obediah Sage, California Department of Food and Agriculture; Todd Gilligan, Colorado State University

Field Identification Guide - PDF

Scouting and Field Identification Video 

DIY LBAM Traps: Materials, Cost, and Maintenance

The following link is a list of products and materials we use in our research to trap LBAM.  Cost may vary depending on the store or vendor.  Result may vary.

Trap Material Build List

Current Trap Data for Light Brown Apple Moth in Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties

The Light Brown Apple Moth (LBAM) is an important invasive pest for California, and has become established throughout much of California’s central coast.  It is a regulated pest in ornamental and fruit crops important to the central coast economy.  The University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) in Santa Cruz County conducts research in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties to aid in LBAM detection and management.  UCCE has been trapping LBAM in and around wholesale nurseries, apples, and berries since 2009.

                     Regional LBAM Trap Data                    Past LBAM Trap Data Postings

Light Brown Apple Moth

W. K. Frankie Lam, Ph.D., Entomologist,
The University of California Cooperative Extension, Monterey County

     The light brown apple moth (LBAM), Epiphysis postvittana (Walker) (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae), is an exotic and invasive moth in the United States.  It is a concern because the larvae of LBAM feed on a wide range of plants, including fruit crops, vegetables, ornamentals, and broad-leaf weeds.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) have issued a press release on March 22, 2007 confirming the presence of LBAM in California.  Its discovery in California is a new record to the mainland of North America.

     The LBAM is native to Australia and has been introduced to Tasmania, New Caledonia, New Zealand, England, and Hawaii.  The pest belongs to the Light Brown Apple Moth and Related Species in California (Tortricidae), which is the sixth largest family of butterflies and moths (Order Lepidoptera).  Based on the information from Australia the moth is predicted to have two to four generations per year in California, depending on the latitude.  The LBAM larvae feed on more than 250 plants and if the pest is established, the total loss of production and control cost has been estimated to be more than $130 million annually in California.

     In North America, there are approximately 1,200 species of leafrolling moths.  Many of these moths are gray, tan, or brown in color and have 1/3 to 1 1/3 inches wingspan.  Based on their morphology, it is very difficult to identify the LBAM from the other leafroller moths in California .  This is because the LBAM moths always exhibit considerable variations in the wing pattern among individuals within the species.  There is no comprehensive key to identify the eggs, larvae, and pupae of leafrollers in California.  In addition, no unique morphological feature has been identified to distinguish a LBAM larva from other leafroller larvae.

     To date, the LBAM has only been discovered in some nurseries and captured by the pheromone-baited traps conducted by the CDFA LBAM Project in urban areas of some counties in California.  If insects suspected to be LBAM are observed on your plants, please contact the local Agricultural Commissioner, the local University of California Cooperative Extension, or call the LBAM Project at 1-800-491-1899.  For a comprehensive 20-page information and insecticidal management of the LBAM in nurseries , please check the following articles and/or the linked websites.


Light Brown Apple Moth and Common Leafrollers

Light Brown Apple Moth and Related Species in California


Light Brown Apple Moth in California: Quarantine, Management and Potential Impacts

California Department of Food and Agriculture: Light Brown Apple Moth Project

Contact Information for California County Agricultural Commissioners & Sealers

The University of California Cooperative Extension Offices

Other Light Brown Appple Moth Information

Light Brown Apple Moth: Quarantine, Management, and Potential Impacts

Light brown apple moth's arrival in California worries commodity groups
By Lucia G. Varela

New Zealand lessons may aid efforts to control light brown apple moth in California
By Lucia G. Varela