• Leaf roller moth

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Leaf Roller

Leaf roller caterpillars roll up leaves and stick them together for shelter, they then feed on the inner surface of the leaves then eat through the leaves as they mature.


Leaf roller caterpillars curl up the leaves of host plants and stick them together with silk webbing to make a shelter where they can feed on the leaves in safety. The young caterpillars feed on the inner surfaces of the leaves, but once the caterpillar approaches maturity it will eat through the leaf. This damage can be serious for host plants.

Host plants include many fruits and ornamentals but they will also feed on a variety of common weeds and these can be a source of infestation.


To get rid of leaf roller caterpillars follow these steps:

Leaf roller caterpillars are often difficult to control because they are usually well protected within their leafy shelter so you need to be thorough and persistent in your control programme.

Leaf rollers often establish on weeds so regularly weeding, cleaning and mowing will help to prevent infestations from these sources.

For control on ornamental plants use PLANThealth Insect Hit or Rose Force.

For an organic alternative to kill leaf roller, use Organic Caterpillar BioControl, a bio-control product containing the naturally occurring soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki (Btk) that can be used to protect vegetables, crops, fruit trees and ornamentals. Beneficial insects such as ladybirds and bees are not harmed and there is no withholding period.

Control Ants and the Sap Sucking Insects they 'Farm' in Trees, Shrubs and Ornamantals

Apply PLANThealth Insect Hit Granules on the the soil around the roots of affected plants. This kills and prevents ants moving up the plants, and is systemic and taken up by the roots of the plant to control the leaf rollers and other insects directly.

Did you know

There are three common pest species of leaf roller in New Zealand. The brown headed leafroller, the light brown apple moth and the greenheaded leaf roller. They are major horticultural pests.

Leafrollers refers to the caterpillars of several Lepidopteran species.

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