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Angle shades moth

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last updated Feb 3, 2011
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Angleshades moth (Phlogophora meticulosa). Credit: RHS/Entomology.

The caterpillars of angle shades moth can feed on a wide range of wild and cultivated plants. They are particularly damaging when they eat the unopened flower buds.

What is angle shades moth? Back to top

The adult moth is not a pest. It is its caterpillars that cause problems by eating foliage and flower buds.

Symptoms Back to top

The caterpillars of this moth can cause damage to plants at all times of the year.

  • Holes are eaten in the foliage and flowers, including unopened flower buds, especially on chrysanthemums
  • Young growth at the tips of shoots is particularly favoured
  • The caterpillars are up to 45mm long (1 3/4in)  and vary in colour from brownish yellow to bright green
  • They hide during the day, emerging to feed at night

Control Back to top

Non-chemical control

Torch-light inspections of damaged plants on mild nights will reveal caterpillars that can be removed by hand.

Chemical control

If infestations are too heavy for hand picking, control can be achieved by spraying at dusk with deltamethrin (Bayer Sprayday Greenfly Killer), lambda cyhalothrin (Westland Plant Rescue Fruit & Vegetable Bug Killer) or pyrethrum (Py Spray Garden Insect Killer) . The older caterpillars are more tolerant of pesticides than young larvae.


Pesticides for gardeners (Adobe Acrobat pdf document outlining pesticides available to gardeners)

Biology Back to top

  • The angle shades moth has two generations a year
  • Eggs are laid on a wide range of wild and cultivated plants in late May to June and August to October
  • Larvae of the second generation overwinter and can feed whenever night temperatures are above 5ºC (41ºF)
  • They pupate in the soil when fully grown

Quick facts

Common name Angle shades moth
Scientific name Phlogophora meticulosa
Plants affected Many herbaceous and woody ornamental plants
Main symptoms Holes eaten in foliage and flower buds
Most active February-November