Kia Ora. Our apple tree is infested with leaf roller caterpillars. About half the leaves are folded up, and we know we’re going to lose most of the fruit.

What’s the best way to stop them laying or kill or control the little caterpillars without harming bees that are visiting the apple flowers?



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Leaf roller caterpillars can be a bit more difficult to control as they are often wrapped up in their safe little leaf houses.

The key is to do a thorough spray and then redo again and even for a third time if the problem persists.

You can pick damaged leaves off the tree and get rid of them (do not compost) if it is not too large of an infestation. This will help get rid of some of the caterpillars.

The next best option is to get a biocontrol for the caterpillars. There is a product called Organic Caterpillar BioControl which does not affect bees and beneficial insects. The active ingredient will stop the caterpillars from eating and they will soon die. Spray it in the evening and make sure no rain is forecast. Another alternative is Yates pyrethrum natures way.

To prevent the leaf roller caterpillars from coming back mow, weed and get rid of clippings and pruning material. Remove all damaged fruit from the tree and spray with a conquerer oil in the winter months to get egg numbers down.

The Palmers Team

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