Tortrix Moth Caterpillar
There are many species of Tortrix moths, the most noted to gardeners is the Codling Moth the larval stage of which tunnels into apples, others attack pears, plums and strawberries. The species illustrated here had infested a Bay tree and bound the leaves together with silk to provide protection while it grazed on the inner surfaces.
Usually it is the newer leaves at the tips of shoots which turn brown and at first may appear to be due to wind burn. The caterpillars are about 2cm long, usually green with a brown head and wriggle backwards when disturbed.
The bound leaves should be squeezed to crush the caterpillars or removed and destroyed as they are usually to badly damaged to recover. Pheromone traps capture the males thus reducing the chances of mating occuring. The damage is usually cosmetic and the plant will not suffer lasting harm.
A systemic insecticide can be used for large shrubs or trees that are out of reach.
Tortrix Moth caterpillar and pupa.
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