South African Carnation Tortrix Moth

Epichoristodes acerbella

South African Carnation Tortrix Moth, South African Carnation Tortrix, Carnation Worm, Tortix Moth, Pear Leafroller

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The South African Carnation Tortrix Moth is the only species of its genus to become established outside of Africa. It's the larvae that cause most of the problems. They eat the leaves of various plants, including Daisies, Asters, Rose, Cayenne Pepper and Pear. The larvae are leaf-rollers, meaning they use their silk to curl the margins of leaves. This protects them while they feed on the foliage.
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Traits

Moths are a food source for other garden wildlife such as bats, reptiles and small rodents.
The larvae are pests of Daisies, Asters, Rose, Cayenne Pepper and Pear.

Appearance

Adult moths are cream-yellow with light brown speckles. The latter is variable; some possess no markings, whereas others possess a reddish-brown patch across the posterior end of the wings. Wingspans measure between 1.3-1.8cm. Larvae are yellowish-green. They'll feed in leaves rolled at the margins, but they'll sometimes use flower and leaf buds too. They sometimes graze the fruits, or in worse cases, bore into the fruits from the stems. Eggs are laid on the leaves of the host in batches of 25.

Symptoms

Leaves rolling at the margins using silk. Notches missing from leaves, buds and flowers. Black/ brown lesions on fruits. Entry holes at the stems of fruits. Flower buds with holes in or petals stuck together with fine silk.

Activity

Nocturnal

Personality

Order

Lepidoptera

Family

Tortricidae

Metamorphosis

Complete

Distribution

Widespread across Eastern and Southern Africa. It's become established in several countries in Southern Europe, including Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Italy, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, and Spain.

Biological treatment

Regularly inspect plants for pests during the warm season, and by using pheromone traps, you can monitor moths in the area while reducing the number of males. Leaves with caterpillar infestations can be picked off and disposed of. There's no point trying insecticidal soaps because you won't be able to cover inside the rolled leaves adequately. Caterpillars have several natural enemies. When using pesticides, you risk losing these from your micro-ecosystem.

Chemical treatment

Research is still undergoing to find the best treatment for these caterpillars in agriculture. In the garden, it's thought pesticides containing synthetic pyrethroids such as deltamethrin and fenvalerate are effective at controlling the pest. Please read bottle instructions carefully, taking care not to spray any plants that are in flower. Such pesticides can be extremely toxic to wildlife, so should be applied with extreme caution. Likewise, if you are planning to eat your harvest, make sure the food plant is listed on the bottle label.
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