Carnation Tortrix Moth

Cacoecimorpha pronubana

Carnation Tortrix Moth, Carnation Tortrix, European Carnation Tortrix, Mediteranean Carnation Tortrix, Mediterranean Carnation Leafroller

Photo by filvad (CC BY 4.0)
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A close up of a Cacoecimorpha pronubana carnation tortrix on a leaf
Photo by filvad (CC BY 4.0)
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The Carnation Tortrix Moth is an insect belonging to the insect family named the Tortrix Moths (Tortricidae). The caterpillars bind the leaves of the infested plant using their silk to build a protective barrier which conceals them while they feed. The leaves ultimately dry up and turn brown. They'll bore into flower buds and damage fruits of some plants, too. There have been a few recordings of this moth in South Africa, however, they are scarce.
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These insects can damage fruits and turn leaves brown.
Moths and caterpillars are eaten by an array of garden wildlife.


Adults: The adult moth is small, the wingspan reaching as far as 2.5cm but can be as little as 1.4cm. The wings are curved with two dark brown bands that diagonally cross them. The hindwings are a vivid orange. Larvae: Small, translucent green caterpillars. They usually are too hidden to be seen.


Leaves and buds may become enclosed in silk and eaten by the caterpillars. Boring into new buds and petals stuck together and closed with silk. Leaves may start to look brown and crooked. Sometimes caterpillars can bore into fruits.











Europe, Asia, Africa and North America

Biological treatment

It's been advised that plants can tolerate light infestations. By squeezing bound leaves (or stepping on them), you can squash the caterpillars and pupae.

Chemical treatment

For heavier infestations, control may be achieved with pyrethroid sprays such as deltamethrin and fenvalerate. If a chemical option is sought, check with your local garden centre and please take care to follow the manufacturers' instructions. Check with your local regulating body for guidance on active ingredients and their authorisation for use. Plants that are in flower should never be sprayed due to the danger they pose to pollinators.


There are about 100 species that this moth will readily use as a host, but Dianthus spp. seems to be affected most severely.
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