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Tufted apple bud moth

Platynota idaeusalis (Walker)
Lepidoptera: Tortricidae

Adult is an inconspicuous moth, varying from mottled gray at the wing base to brown at the wing tip, with a lighter colored margin along the wing's leading edge (A). Two or three groups of tufted scales can be seen on the top of the wings. Larva is initially yellowish with a black head, and later forms are light brown to grayish tan with a chestnut brown head, dark thoracic shield and dark stripe down the back of the body (B) (upper: normal larva, below: virus-infected).

Distribution

NS, QC, ON, and south to mid-Atlantic states.

Damage

Attacks apple, pear, peach, and cherry. Webs leaves against the fruit and feeds underneath, causing tiny holes, irregular scarring or channeling of fruit surface (C, D). Feeding sites are subject to rots or corking; larvae may enter calyx and feed in seed cavity.

Similar Species

Biology, feeding habits, and injury are similar to the obliquebanded leafroller (Choristoneura rosaceana), but can be distinguished by its coloration (the latter species is more green) and the fact that tufted apple bud moth is generally an economic pest only in the part of its range from PA south. Also, timing of the adult flight period is slightly advanced for tufted apple bud moth (starting about petal fall, as opposed to fruit set for obliquebanded leafroller).

Management

Remove spring apple root suckers and suppress broadleaf weed groundcover under tree canopies. Insecticide resistance has made this species increasingly difficult to control. Use pheromone traps and a degree-day developmental model to time insecticide sprays against small larvae starting after the fruit thinning period and again in late summer. Economic infestations should be treated with selective (e.g., Bacillus thuringiensis, growth regulators) or broad-spectrum insecticides.

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