Description and life cycle
Variegated leafroller is a general feeder whose hosts include strawberry, apple, azalea, blackberry, clover, sunflowers, maple, peach, and rose. Adult males have a ½-inch wingspan and are brown with a cream-colored band towards the end of the wings. Females are larger (½- to ¾-inch wingspan) and have varying shades of brown and reddish-brown on the wings. There is a dark spot on the leading edge of the front wings. Small larvae (first and second instar) are yellowish with a black head. Older larvae are green with a light brown head and thoracic shield. The life cycle and overwintering hosts and sites are almost identical to tufted apple bud moth, although adults emerge 7 to 10 days later in the spring.
Monitoring and management
Injury to both the foliage and the fruit cannot be distinguished from that of tufted apple bud moth.
Monitoring is accomplished using pheromone traps. Traps should be hung at the beginning of May, 6 feet high in the apple tree. At peak flight, around the end of May, start searching for and marking the location of several egg masses. Monitor the marked egg masses. When eggs turn black then insecticides should be applied. Although thresholds have not been well worked out, 1 percent fruit damage in the previous generation should alert the grower to a problem.