WSU Extension


Blueberry : Leafrollers
(revision date: 6/8/2015)

Larvae of the orange tortrix and other leafrolling caterpillar species may be found on blueberries. The caterpillars are typically light to dark green with light or dark heads, and are about 3/4" long at maturity. Typical symptoms of leafroller feeding include damaged buds and leaves that are rolled and tied with webbing. Damage to fruit occurs occasionally. Leafroller caterpillars are often active when disturbed, wiggling vigorously or dropping to the ground on a thread. The adult moths are 1/2" to 3/4" long and are brown or mottled tan and rusty brown. Adults of some species, including the orange tortrix, have darker bands across the wings. The orange tortrix overwinters in dead leaves on the plant or on the soil surface.
Management Options

Non-Chemical Management
  • Pick out and destroy rolled leaves and caterpillars.
  • Pinch rolled leaves to kill caterpillars.
  • Clean up leaf debris on and under plants.
  • Encourage natural enemies of caterpillars including birds, parasitic wasps and flies, and predacious beetles. Avoid use of broad-spectrum insecticides which kill beneficial insects.
Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

Chemical Management

Depending on the extent of the infestation, three applications may be necessary: May 15, June 1, June 15. These dates may vary - adjust according to first observation. Use a spreader-sticker with liquid Bt formulations.

Listed below are examples of pesticides that are legal in Washington. Always read and follow all label directions.
  • Bonide Captain Jack's Deadbug Brew R-T-U [Organic]
    Active ingredient: spinosad (spinosyn A+D)  |  EPA reg no: 4-472
  • Bonide Thuricide BT Conc
    Active ingredient: Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki  |  EPA reg no: 4-226
  • Safer Brand Garden Dust RTU [Organic]
    Active ingredient: Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki  |  EPA reg no: 36488-25-42697
  • This list may not include all products registered for this use.
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Caption: Leafroller damage on blueberry
Photo by: R.S. Byther
Caption: Obliquebanded leafroller adult
Photo by: J.F. Brunner
Caption: Obliquebanded leafroller
Photo by: S.M. Fitzpatrick and J.T. Troubridge