How to Manage Pests

UC Pest Management Guidelines


Pink Scavenger Caterpillar

Scientific Name: Pyroderces rileyi

(Reviewed 9/08, updated 9/08)

In this Guideline:

Description of the Pest

The pink scavenger caterpillar occurs sporadically in the coastal areas of San Diego, Orange, and Ventura counties. When fully grown, larva are much smaller than other orangeworms. Pink scavenger caterpillars have light brown heads, black mouthparts, a dark brown prothoracic shield, and a dark pinkish abdomen.


On orange and lemon trees, the caterpillar is mainly a scavenger, feeding on dry or decaying fruit, dead floral parts, and sooty mold. Look for it mainly among fruit clusters and under sepals. During summer, larvae may feed on the rind of ripe Valencias, often near the stem end or on the sides of fruit in a cluster. The feeding is usually superficial and does not cause appreciable damage. In a few cases, serious damage has occurred similar to that caused by orange tortrix. A heavy infestation may result in fruit drop or decaying fruit during storage.


Treatment is rarely needed.


[UC Peer Reviewed]

UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines: Citrus
UC ANR Publication 3441

Insects, Mites, and Snails

  • E. E. Grafton-Cardwell, Entomology, UC Riverside and Kearney Agricultural Center, Parlier
  • J. G. Morse, Entomology, UC Riverside
  • N. V. O'Connell, UC Cooperative Extension, Tulare County
  • P. A. Phillips (emeritus), UC IPM Program, UC Cooperative Extension, Ventura County
  • C. E. Kallsen, UC Cooperative Extension, Kern County
  • D. R. Haviland, UC Cooperative Extension, Kern County
Acknowledgments for contributions to Insect, Mites, and Snails:
  • J. Barcinas, E.S.I., Corona, CA
  • R. Dunn, Badger Farming Co., Exeter, CA
  • J. Gorden, Pest Management Associates, Exeter, CA
  • H. Griffiths, E.S.I., Corona, CA
  • D. Machlitt, Consulting Entomology Services, Moorpark, CA
  • C. Musgrove, retired entomologist, Riverside, CA
  • K. Olsen, S & J Ranch, Pinedale, CA
  • T. Roberts, E.S.I., Corona, CA
  • T. Shea, UC Cooperative Extension, Riverside County
  • J. Stewart, Pest Management Associates, Exeter, CA
  • P. Washburn, Washburn & Sons Citrus Pest Control, Riverside, CA

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