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Apple Leaf Mining Moth

Lyonetia clerkella

Apple Leaf Mining Moth

A close up of a Lyonetia clerkella apple leaf miner

Lyonetia clerkella, Dolydd Hafren, Wales, Aug 2014 2 (20471442208)

by Janet Graham. CC BY 2.0

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The Apple Leaf-Mining Moth is a pretty silvery-white, with brownish pointed apices that terminate the wings. This moth is most harmful to orchards, as unlike the name suggests, the larvae do not only mine the leaves of apple trees, but also show a preference for pear and cherry trees. Likewise, larvae and pupae have been found active within the leaves of Hawthorn, Birch, Hop and Willow. During a typical British summer, an apple leaf-mining moth can have up to 3 generations of offspring.
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Larvae can damage tree leaves from their mining behaviour, however, crop yields are mostly unaffected.


An apple leaf-mining moth adult has silvery-white wings with brownish pointed apices. They are small in size, their wingspan only amounts to 9mm. They are slender and skinny in appearance. These moths are nocturnal and their presence can sometimes be detected by torchlight or moth traps. Caterpillars are green with brown heads and legs, they are about 5mm in length. A typical pupa of the apple leaf-mining moth can appear green to grey. Eggs are oblong and matte white. Eggs will be laid by a female beneath the leaves of the host plant. These may be too small to see with the naked eye.


The mines created by larvae are substantially long and gradually widen. Mines sometimes cross the vein but will never move onto another leaf. Mines can cause leaves to discolour, dry and fall off. Leaves can sometimes appear to have brown blobs on them. These are moth pupae hanging from the underside of leaves.











Western Europe, Northern Africa and some parts of Asia.

Biological treatment

Despite the harm a mining insect can cause to leaves of the host tree, tree health is almost always sustained, rarely impacting crop yield.

Chemical treatment

There are currently no chemical treatments available for gardeners in the UK.


Apple 'Braeburn'

Malus domestica 'Braeburn'


Crataegus spp.

Prunus avium cherry blossom

Cherry Tree

Prunus avium


Pyrus communis

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