Fruittree Leafrollers

by Nanette Londeree, Master Rosarian


Flat egg masses on small stems or branches
A green larva (or caterpillar) ¾ to one inch long with a black head (when young), turning to brown that wriggle vigorously when disturbed and drop to the ground on a silken thread, March through mid-May
A pupa just under 1/2 inch long, light to dark brown, and is usually formed within the rolled leaf; silk webbing lines the area around the pupa


Tender new leaves with a ragged appearance
Leaves that are rolled and tied together with silken threads
Defoliated grass or other plants beneath the plant


Larvae of the fruit-tree leafroller, Archips argyrospila or A. rosanus


Fruit or shade trees in the area
March through May when larvae hatch
Abundant tender new leaves and bud



Maintain good garden sanitation
Encourage beneficial insects and birds including certain tachinid flies and ichneumonid wasps (main parasites), lacewing and certain beetles, insect eating birds (common predators)


Inspect new foliage and look for feeding injury and the small larvae (caterpillars); trim off and destroy
Spray with Bacillus thuringiensis; thorough spray coverage is required for control and it’s only effective on fruittree leafroller larvae when they are small (less than 1/2 inch long); it usually requires more than one application
Apply sprays only when there is evidence of a damaging leafroller population, such as large numbers of larvae early in the spring or large numbers of egg masses


A bad guy that can make a mess of your roses, though doesn’t do significant lasting damage

Photos courtesy of Baldo Villegas; from top: fruittree larvae, adult, damage to rose and nest.

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