WSU Extension


Physiological shothole 
Carnation tortrix 

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Caption: Carnation tortrix
Photo by: A.L. Antonelli
Laurel : Carnation tortrix
(revision date: 2/14/2019)

Portuguese laurel (Prunus lusitanica) is sometimes infested with the larvae of the carnation tortrix, a small bell-shaped brown moth with reddish underwings and dark bands on the upper wings. The larvae feed by rolling leaves and tying them with webbing. The caterpillars are light brown or greenish with brown heads and about 1/2" to 3/8" long at maturity. The larvae are very active when disturbed. The carnation tortrix attacks many broad-leaved evergreen plants, but seldom causes serious damage.
Management Options

Non-Chemical Management
  • Hand-pick and destroy rolled leaves, or pinch to kill caterpillars inside.
  • Provide proper culture. Healthy plants can easily tolerate some defoliation.
Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

Chemical Management

Apply when first noticed. Use a spreader-sticker with liquid Bt formulations. Use products according to label instructions. Homeowners should not make foliar applications to trees over 10 ft tall. Consult a commercial pesticide applicator for treatment of trees and shrubs over 10 ft. tall.

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
  • Safer Brand BioNEEM Multi-Purpose Insecticide & Repellent Conc [Organic]
    Active ingredient: azadirachtin  |  EPA reg no: 70051-6-42697
  • Safer Brand Caterpillar Killer for Trees, Shrubs & Vegetables Conc II [Organic]
    Active ingredient: Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki  |  EPA reg no: 70051-106-42697
  • Safer Brand Caterpillar Killer/Trees, Shrubs, & Vegetables Conc
    Active ingredient: Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki  |  EPA reg no: 42697-23
  • This list may not include all products registered for this use.

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Caption: Carnation tortrix
Photo by: A.L. Antonelli