Agriculture: Citrus Pest Management Guidelines

Omnivorous Leafroller

  • Platynota stultana
  • Description of the Pest

    (View Caterpillar ID Key) (PDF)

    The larva of the omnivorous leafroller resembles other tortricid caterpillars, especially the orange tortrix, but it has white tubercles at the base of the bristles on its sides and back. Early instars (larval stage) have a black head and prothoracic shield; later instars have a light brown head and prothoracic shield. The larvae roll and tie leaves together or to fruit with silken threads. When mature they pupate inside the rolled leaves within a cocoon.

    The adult moth has a 0.8 to 1 inch (2–2.5 cm) wingspan. The wings are fawn or rusty-brown, and possess a prominent light spot on the costal margins near the middle of the forewings, as well as other irregularly placed spots. The adult lives about ten days. Female moths lay overlapping eggs in clusters that resemble fish scales on the upper surface of leaves and on fruit. There are five to six generations a year, depending on temperatures.


    Omnivorous leafroller is only rarely a pest of citrus in the San Joaquin Valley and in interior and intermediate districts of Southern California. In spring, small larvae spin webs and feed on new foliage. Later in the season they tie leaves to fruit and feed under the buttons, leaving ring scarring similar to that of citrus thrips. In summer and fall, they tie leaves to ripening fruit and feed on the rind.


    Omnivorous leafroller is generally managed when monitoring for other pests from spring though fall indicates an insecticide application is necessary. Use selective (toxic to only a narrow group of insects) insecticides to preserve natural enemies.

    Biological Control

    Several parasites attack the larva of the omnivorous leafroller. The most common are a tachinid fly, Erynnia tortricis, and an eulophid wasp, Elachertus proteoteratis. Trichogramma spp. attack the eggs.

    Organically Acceptable Methods

    Use biological control and sprays of Bacillus thuringiensis on organically managed citrus.

    Monitoring and Treatment Decisions

    If it appears that omnivorous leafroller is present in the grove, monitor in the south and east quadrants of trees. In spring, look for small larvae under sepals when you monitor for citrus thrips. During summer, less frequent monitoring may be sufficient but check to see if parasites are effective. A higher number of larvae can be tolerated in spring, when they feed on young leaves, than in fall, when they are more likely to damage ripening fruit. Keeping this qualification in mind, a control action threshold of about 30 larvae per hour of search can be used.

    Common name Amount to use REI‡ PHI‡
    (Example trade name) (type of coverage)** (hours) (days)
    Not all registered pesticides are listed. The following are ranked with the pesticides having the greatest IPM value listed first—the most effective and least harmful to natural enemies, honey bees, and the environment are at the top of the table. When choosing a pesticide, consider information relating to air and water quality, resistance management, and the pesticide's properties and application timing. Always read the label of the product being used.
    (various products) Label rate (OC) 4 0
    RANGE OF ACTIVITY: Pests: narrow (caterpillars); Natural enemies: none
    PERSISTENCE: Pests: short; Natural enemies: none
    COMMENTS: Can be used during bloom. Timing is important because of short residual period. Apply only during warm weather to control young, actively feeding worms. Use reduced wind velocity and drive 3 mph.
    (Prokil Cryolite 96) 8–20 lb/acre (OC) 12 15
    (Kryocide) 8–20 lb/acre (OC) 12 15
    RANGE OF ACTIVITY: Pests: intermediate (foliage feeders such as worms, katydids, and Fuller rose beetle); Natural enemies: few, if any
    PERSISTENCE: Pests: long, unless washed off by rain; Natural enemies: none to short
    COMMENTS: Check label for variety. Use higher rate for larger trees. Slow-acting stomach poison that may take several days of warm weather to kill worms. Use reduced wind velocity and a speed of 3 mph. Use of Prokil Cryolite 96 allowed under a supplemental label.
    (Sevin XLR Plus) 2–3 qt/acre (OC) 12 5
    RANGE OF ACTIVITY: Pests: broad (many insects); Natural enemies: most
    PERSISTENCE: Pests: long; Natural enemies: long
    COMMENTS: For use on all varieties. During the bloom period, apply from 1 hour after sunset until 2 hours before sunrise. Check with your local county agricultural commissioner regarding application restrictions during the bloom period.
    D. NALED
    (Dibrom 8 Emulsive)* 1–2 pt/acre (OC) 48 7
    RANGE OF ACTIVITY: Pests: broad (many insects); Natural enemies: most
    PERSISTENCE: Pests: short; Natural enemies: intermediate
    COMMENTS: For use on grapefruit, lemons, oranges, tangerines. This pesticide is hazardous to bees. Do not apply during bloom.
    (Lannate LV2.4) 1.5–3 pt/acre (OC or A) 72 (3 days) 1
    RANGE OF ACTIVITY: Pests: broad (many insects); Natural enemies: most
    PERSISTENCE: Pests: short; Natural enemies: intermediate
    COMMENTS: For use on grapefruit, lemons, oranges, tangerines, and tangelos. Apply as needed, except during daylight hours of the bloom period.
    ** A - Aircraft applications 5 to 20 gal water/acre.
    OC - Outside coverage uses 100 to 250 gal water/acre.
    Restricted entry interval (REI) is the number of hours (unless otherwise noted) from treatment until the treated area can be safely entered without protective clothing. Preharvest interval (PHI) is the number of days from treatment to harvest. In some cases the REI exceeds the PHI. The longer of two intervals is the minimum time that must elapse before harvest.
    * Permit required from county agricultural commissioner for purchase or use.
    # Acceptable for use on organically grown produce.
    1 Rotate chemicals with a different mode-of-action group number, and do not use products with the same mode-of-action group number more than twice per season to help prevent the development of resistance. For example, the organophosphates have a group number of 1B; chemicals with a 1B group number should be alternated with chemicals that have a group number other than 1B. Mode-of-action group numbers (un = unknown or uncertain mode of action) are assigned by IRAC (Insecticide Resistance Action Committee).
    Text Updated: 02/17
    Treatment Table Updated: 02/17