Sometimes leafroller larvae tunnel into bud clusters or tie leaves together. Look for feeding injury to buds and small leaves. You may need to pull the buds apart or unroll leaves to find the culprits. If you can find the larvae when they are small, they are easy to control with organic sprays or by crushing them (this can be very satisfying!). If you don’t catch them in the act you will wonder what caused all the damage a month or two later.
There are several leafrollers and related insects that will be feeding on developing buds, leaves, flowers, and new fruit over the next 3 months. Leafrollers and related insects include: Bruce Spanworm, Eyespotted Budmoth, Obliquebanded Leafrollers, Threelined Leafrollers, Fruittree Leafrollers, European Leafrollers and Green Fruitworms.
For identification and controls in BC home gardens and home orchards see: Home & Garden Pest Management Guide For British Columbia – Pests of Fruit Trees
For identification and controls in BC commercial orchard see:
- Eyespotted Budmoth
- Obliquebanded and Threelined Leafrollers
- Green Fruitworms
- Fruittree and European Leafrollers
The best organic spray for all or these insects is BT (Bacillus thuringiensis). This product is available from garden centers and hardware stores in BC. For this product to work the larvae must eat parts of the tree sprayed recently. It works best when sprayed in the evening of a dry day. Be sure to read the instructions on the label carefully.