Forest Pest Insects in North America: a Photographic Guide

Oak leafroller

Archips semiferanus (Walker) (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae)

Orientation to pest

Oak leafroller, Archips semiferanus (Walker), is native to North America, where it is widely distributed in the eastern half of the continent. Females lay eggs in masses of 40 to 50 eggs on branches or rough bark in July. Eggs overwinter and larvae emerge in spring and feed on buds and young leaves. Mid-to-late instar larvae roll leaves together with silk to form a nest in which they feed. Mature larvae pupate in the leaf rolls or crevices in June and adults emerge a few weeks later. Periodic outbreaks of this species have occurred in oak forests in North America since the 1960s. In Pennsylvania and Michigan, hundreds of thousands of acres have been defoliated in some years, with substantial tree mortality and economic loss.

Hosts commonly attacked

Larvae of oak leafroller feed on a range of oaks (Quercus), especially northern red (Quercus rubra L.), scarlet (Quercus coccinea Muenchh.), chestnut (Quercus prinus L.), and white (Quercus alba L.) oaks. In addition, this moth sometimes feeds on species of witch hazel (Hamamelis) and apple (Malus).


Archips semiferanus is found in southeastern Canada and the eastern United States, west to Colorado and Texas.

Images of oak leafroller

Adults of oak leafroller Todd Gilligan, CSU, 768x512
Larva of oak leafroller A. Steven Munson, USDA Forest Service, 768x512 / 1536x1024
Figure 1. Adults of oak leafroller, Archips semiferanus Figure 2. Larva of oak leafroller

Important biological control agents related to this pest species

Natural enemies of this species have been studied in Pennsylvania where pupae were attacked by two ichneumonids, Itoplectis conquistor (Say) and Phaeogenes gilvilabris Allen, and larvae attacked by various tachinids. Larval parasitism was more common than pupal parasitism.

Web links for information on oak leafroller