Apple (Tortrix)

 EN023 (7/02)

Apple Tortrix
Archips fuscocupreanus

By Chris T. Maier
Department of Entomology
The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station
123 Huntington Street
P.O. Box 1106
New Haven, CT 06504-1106
Telephone: (203) 974-8476 Fax: (203) 974-8502

The introduced apple tortrix, Archips fuscocupreanus, is a pest of fruit trees and other woody plants. This eastern Asian tortricid moth entered North America before 1982 although it was not positively identified until 1995. In Japan and Korea, this tortrix or leafroller is a major pest of apple. In certain areas of Japan, it has developed resistance to insecticides. In the Northeast, the apple tortrix inhabits mainly coastal counties in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey. It also occurs in coastal areas of Washington State.

Damage: In the spring, the caterpillars of the apple tortrix feed upon leaves, and less frequently upon blossoms or developing fruits. In addition to feeding, caterpillars injure trees by pruning leaves, flower parts, or fruitlets to construct shelters in which they reside. When they are abundant, the caterpillars reportedly can defoliate fruit trees. To date, the caterpillars have not damaged trees in sprayed northeastern orchards.

Host Plants: In the Northeast, the caterpillars have an exceptionally broad host range, feeding upon at least 87 species in 15 plant families. They feed upon all the principal species of pome and stone fruits that are grown in the Northeast. In Connecticut, the caterpillars are most abundant on unsprayed apple, crabapple, pear, and plum trees.

Life Cycle and Appearance: The apple tortrix has one generation per year, spending the winter as an egg in a black egg mass on a tree branch or trunk. The caterpillars hatch from the circular egg mass (1/8" by 1/4") probably in late April. They feed upon foliage, flowers, or developing fruits, often binding these same plant parts together to form a shelter. The caterpillars complete their growth by late May or early June at which time they are grayish green with an orange or brownish orange head and a black thoracic shield behind the head. When they are full-grown, they are 3/4-7/8" in length. The caterpillars form pupae in folded leaves or under the loose bark of tree trunks or in debris near trees. The reddish brown adult moths, which have a wingspan of 3/4-1", emerge 1-2 weeks after pupation Between mid-June and mid-July, the females lay eggs in black masses on the large branches and trunks of trees. The eggs remain dormant until the following spring.

Egg Mass on apple branch Mature caterpillar on leaf Adult Moth


The introduced apple tortrix, Archips fuscocupreanus, is a pest of fruit trees and other woody plants.