Utah Pest News Spring 2011

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CAPS Update:  Light Brown Apple Moth


  Light brown apple moth (adult, top) has not been detected yet in Utah.  The larvae (bottom) can damage apple fruit by feeding when fruit are small.  They also feed on a variety of other hosts including peaches and raspberries.  A rigorous trapping program will be conducted in Utah in 2011.

This year a survey for eight insect species will be conducted in 50 Utah orchards as part of the Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey program.  One species that will be targeted is the light brown apple moth (LBAM), Epiphyas postvittana.  This species, native to Australia, has become established in many parts of California since its detection in 2006.  California has been working hard to eradicate the pest; meanwhile, a male LBAM was found in Oregon in 2010. 

Light brown apple moths are 0.4 inches-long, about half the size of a dime.  They tend to be yellowish-brown with dark brown markings on their forewings.  The greenish caterpillars are the most damaging stage, consuming leaves, flowers, and fruits.  They feed and hide inside rolled leaves, making it difficult to effectively control them with insecticide sprays.  There is some evidence that LBAM may be developing resistance to some commonly used insecticides. 

Many of the 120 plant genera that are known LBAM hosts are grown in Utah, including apples, peaches, pears, and raspberries.  Historically, Utah has been surveyed for LBAM many times, but continued monitoring is crucial, especially now that there is potential for accidental introduction from California.  Early detection of this pest is important to prevent severe economic impacts within our state.


-Cory Stanley, USU CAPS Coordinator



 The Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey is a federal program, administered jointly by USDA-APHIS-PPQ and each state, whose purpose is early detection of invasive species that could threaten U.S. agriculture.  In Utah, the program is co-coordinated by Cory Stanley (USU) and Clint Burfitt (UDAF).