Laurel: Carnation tortrix

categories: Laurel Laurel Insects Ornamental trees Ornamentals

revision date: 2023-04-12 12:00

Carnation tortrix, yellow-green caterpillar.
Carnation tortrix, yellow-green caterpillar
Photo by: A.L. Antonelli


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

Use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for successful plant problem management.

Non-chemical Management

Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

  • Hand-pick and destroy rolled leaves, or pinch to kill caterpillars inside.
  • Provide proper culture. Healthy plants can easily tolerate some defoliation.

Chemical Management

IMPORTANT: Visit Home and Garden Fact Sheets for more information on using pesticides.

  • 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.

Approved Pesticides

Listed below are examples of pesticides that are legal in Washington. Always read and follow all label directions.