NC State Extension Publications

Description and Biology

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Adult bayberry leaftiers, Strepsicrates smithiana, are sometimes called Smith's Strepsicrates moths. The leaftier stage is a small caterpillar that webs together the terminal growth of wax myrtle and feeds within on leaves it webs together. This insect is in the family of leafrollers and it apparently only occurs on wax myrtle in North Carolina (it also infests guava and other species of Myrica all the way down to Chile!). The bayberry leaftier develops through several generations each year as the caterpillars can be found throughout the growing season. The adult is a small, brown, active moth (wingspan about ½ inch) that is not be remarkable among the myriad of insects which occur in the landscape.

Bayberry leaftiers web together the tips of wax myrtle.

Bayberry leaftiers web together the tips of wax myrtle.

Bayberry leaftiers pupate within the webbed foliage.

Bayberry leaftiers pupate within the webbed foliage.

Bayberry leaftier moths have a wingspan of about 5/8 inch.

Bayberry leaftier moths have a wingspan of about 5/8 inch.

Host Plants

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Bayberry leaftiers web together the terminal leaves of wax myrtle and feed within. Wax myrtle is also called southern wax myrtle, southern bayberry, candleberry, bayberry tree, and tallow tree. The tightly webbed foliage becomes even more unsightly as the caterpillars consume the leaves.

Residential Recommendation

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Use a systemic insecticide such as Orthene for control of this leaftier caterpillar. Orthene is fairly toxic to caterpillars and is relatively safe for humans. Nurserymen who have used Orthene for Strepsicrates control have been fairly pleased with the results.

References

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For assistance with a specific problem, contact your local Cooperative Extension Center

This Factsheet has not been peer reviewed.

Author

Professor Emeritus
Entomology and Plant Pathology

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Publication date: July 4, 2013
Revised: Oct. 9, 2019

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