Light brown apple moth

The light brown apple moth (LBAM), Epiphyas postvittana, in an exotic moth that is currently under eradication in California. If established, it poses a threat to a wide range of crops and landscape plants in the Pacific Northwest. The host range affected by LBAM includes 2000 plant species, including 250 fruits and vegetable and numerous plant species grown by the nursery industry such as cypress, pine, Prunus, rhododendron and roses. In New Zealand, 5-20% crop losses can be experienced with LBAM infestations. Domestic and foreign quarantines could be imposed if LBAM becomes established in the PNW.

Western states are surveying for LBAM using pheromone traps. These are traps that use a synthetic version of the chemical used by LBAM females to attract males. The males, caught in sticky traps, are examined to determine if they are LBAM or a related tortricid moth species which sometimes are attracted to the same pheromone lures. The moths are quite variable in coloration and it is recommended that screener become familiar with key characters used for identification (see links).

LBAM is being managed in California with pheromone mating disruption, releases of the moth pheromones to disorient the male moths so they cannot mate with females; and mass release of sterile male moths.

Useful links:

USDA-APHIS: Light brown apple moth. This site has a wealth of information including a LBAM screening guide; a webinar on LBAM adult screening (this has images and audio giving lots of information to distinguish LBAM from other moths); the LBAM Identification Keymaps of the current infestation in California; and much more.

CDFA: Light brown apple moth. This website designed by the California Department of Food and Agriculture highlights their program and has lots of good resources including a gallery of LBAM damage, larvae, and adults; an extensive host list; and other resoureces connected with the LBAM program.

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

Page last modified 1/18/11


Photo: Greg Baker, SARDI