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The light brown apple moth (Epiphvas po,sivittana) has become a serious pest of deciduous fruits in many districts. All types of fruits may be attacked - apples, pears, peaches, plums, apricots, nectarinzs and grapes. Citrus fruits may also he damaged occasionally.
During the day moths shelter in the foliage, making short, erratic flights if disturbed. At dusk they fly actively. Eggs are laid in groups on the leaves in the evening.
The pale yellow newly hatched caterpillars wander about on the under surfaces of the leaves, then roll the leaf, securing it with webbing to form a protective tunnel. The caterpillar always feeds tinder shelter. When disturbed, they wriggle violently into shelter or else fall to the ground or hang suspended from the leaf by a silken thread. Generally, they eat away one surface of a leaf but larger larvae may cat right through a leaf, giving it a ragged appearance.
The larva feeds extensively on the fruit also. When fully grown it transforms into a pupa or chrysalis, which is enveloped in a loose type of cocoon, usually in the rolled leaf.
Larvae may he found rolling the leaves of shrubs and herbs, as well as several weeds.
Caterpillars feeding on the surface of fruit form large, irregular blemishes. These may callus over and the fruit remain on the tree, or in wet weather may turn brown and allow the entrance of rotting organisms. Larvae feed in a sheltered position between fruits, or between fruit and leaf. Where fruits are growing in clusters, they
are particularly susceptible to damage.
In stone fruits, damage is usually accompanied by a good deal of gumming. Pears are often severely damaged, particularly the variety Williams Bon Chretien. Grapes may be severely damaged, the caterpillars feeding among the berries, fouling them with webbing and allowing entry of mould-producing organisms. Colouring citrus fruits may be attacked from April to May and newly set fruits from October to November.
Larvae may overwinter in quite large numbers, sheltering in ground cover and feeding to some extent on this herbage.
If conditions are favourable the pest is active throughout the growing season, passing through two or three generations. Heavy fruit damage is often caused close to picking time in March and April. and the larvae may he very active in the orchard until well into May and may attack fruit in the shed or in the cool store.