Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Operophtera brumata
(winter moth)



Operophtera brumata (winter moth)


  • Last modified
  • 22 November 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Pest
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Operophtera brumata
  • Preferred Common Name
  • winter moth
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Arthropoda
  •       Subphylum: Uniramia
  •         Class: Insecta

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Winter moth larva (2.5 mm long) on apple.
CaptionWinter moth larva (2.5 mm long) on apple.
Winter moth larva (2.5 mm long) on apple.
LarvaWinter moth larva (2.5 mm long) on apple.©AgrEvo
Winter moth adult male (wingspan 22-28 mm).
TitleAdult male
CaptionWinter moth adult male (wingspan 22-28 mm).
Winter moth adult male (wingspan 22-28 mm).
Adult maleWinter moth adult male (wingspan 22-28 mm).©AgrEvo


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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Operophtera brumata Linnaeus

Preferred Common Name

  • winter moth

Other Scientific Names

  • Cheimatobia brumata Linnaeus
  • Phalaena brumata Linnaeus

International Common Names

  • English: winter moth, common; winter moth, European; winter moth, small
  • Spanish: falena invernal; gusano de las hojas
  • French: arpenteuse tardive; cheimatobie; phalene hiemale; verreau

Local Common Names

  • Denmark: frostmaler, lille
  • Finland: hallamittari
  • Germany: Frostspanner, Gemeiner; Frostspanner, Kleiner; Spanner, Frostnacht-
  • Italy: falena autunnale; falena degli alberi fruttiferi; falena invernale
  • Netherlands: Trekmade; Wintervlinder, kleine
  • Norway: frostmaler, liten
  • Sweden: frostfjaeril

EPPO code

  • CHEIBR (Operophtera brumata)

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Metazoa
  •         Phylum: Arthropoda
  •             Subphylum: Uniramia
  •                 Class: Insecta
  •                     Order: Lepidoptera
  •                         Family: Geometridae
  •                             Genus: Operophtera
  •                                 Species: Operophtera brumata

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Last updated: 23 Apr 2020
Continent/Country/Region Distribution Last Reported Origin First Reported Invasive Reference Notes


AlgeriaPresentUK, CAB International (1956); EPPO (2020)
TunisiaPresentUK, CAB International (1956); Mannai et al. (2015); EPPO (2020)


ArmeniaPresentEPPO (2020)
AzerbaijanPresentEPPO (2020)
GeorgiaPresentEPPO (2020)
IranPresentEPPO (2020)
JapanPresentUK, CAB International (1956); EPPO (2020)
-HokkaidoPresentUK, CAB International (1956); EPPO (2020)
-HonshuPresentUK, CAB International (1956); EPPO (2020)
-ShikokuPresentUK, CAB International (1956); EPPO (2020)
KazakhstanPresentEPPO (2020)
TurkeyPresentMol (1973); EPPO (2020)
TurkmenistanPresentEPPO (2020)


AlbaniaPresentEPPO (2020)
AustriaPresentUK, CAB International (1956); EPPO (2020)
BelarusPresentEPPO (2020)
BelgiumPresentUK, CAB International (1956); EPPO (2020)
BulgariaPresentUK, CAB International (1956); EPPO (2020)
CroatiaPresentCABI (Undated)Original citation: Mato?evic et al. (2001)
CzechiaPresentEPPO (2020)
CzechoslovakiaPresentUK, CAB International (1956)
Union of Soviet Socialist RepublicsPresentUK, CAB International (1956)
DenmarkPresentUK, CAB International (1956); EPPO (2020)
EstoniaPresentUK, CAB International (1956); EPPO (2020)
FinlandPresent, WidespreadUK, CAB International (1956); EPPO (2020)
FrancePresent, WidespreadUK, CAB International (1956); EPPO (2020)
-CorsicaPresentEPPO (2020)
GermanyPresentUK, CAB International (1956); EPPO (2020)
GreecePresentEPPO (2020)
HungaryPresentUK, CAB International (1956); EPPO (2020)
IrelandPresentUK, CAB International (1956); EPPO (2020)
ItalyPresentUK, CAB International (1956); EPPO (2020)
-SardiniaPresent, LocalizedEPPO (2020)
-SicilyPresentUK, CAB International (1956); EPPO (2020)
LatviaPresentUK, CAB International (1956); EPPO (2020)
LithuaniaPresentUK, CAB International (1956); EPPO (2020)
MaltaPresentUK, CAB International (1956); EPPO (2020)
MoldovaPresentEPPO (2020)
NetherlandsPresentUK, CAB International (1956); EPPO (2020)
NorwayPresentUK, CAB International (1956); EPPO (2020)
PolandPresentUK, CAB International (1956); EPPO (2020)
RomaniaPresentUK, CAB International (1956); EPPO (2020)
RussiaPresent, LocalizedEPPO (2020)
-Central RussiaPresentEPPO (2020)
-Northern RussiaPresentEPPO (2020)
-Russia (Europe)Present, LocalizedEPPO (2014)
-Russian Far EastPresentUK, CAB International (1956); EPPO (2020)
-Southern RussiaPresentEPPO (2020)
SerbiaPresentEPPO (2020)
Serbia and MontenegroPresentUK, CAB International (1956)
SlovakiaPresentEPPO (2020)
SloveniaPresentHarapin and Jurc (2000); EPPO (2020)
SpainPresentUK, CAB International (1956); EPPO (2020)
SwedenPresentUK, CAB International (1956); EPPO (2020)
SwitzerlandPresentUK, CAB International (1956); EPPO (2020)
UkrainePresentUK, CAB International (1956); EPPO (2020)
United KingdomPresent, WidespreadEPPO (2020)
-EnglandPresent, WidespreadEPPO (2020)
-Northern IrelandPresentEPPO (2020)
-ScotlandPresentEPPO (2020)

North America

CanadaPresent, Localized1949UK, CAB International (1956); EPPO (2020)
-British ColumbiaPresent, LocalizedEPPO (2020)
-New BrunswickPresentEPPO (2020)
-Nova ScotiaPresent1949UK, CAB International (1956); EPPO (2020)
-Prince Edward IslandPresentEPPO (2020)
United StatesPresent, LocalizedEPPO (2020)
-ConnecticutPresentElkinton et al. (2010); EPPO (2020)
-MainePresentElkinton et al. (2010)
-MassachusettsPresentElkinton et al. (2010); Burand et al. (2011); EPPO (2020)
-New HampshirePresentElkinton et al. (2010); EPPO (2020)
-New YorkPresentElkinton et al. (2010)
-OregonPresentEPPO (2020)
-Rhode IslandPresentElkinton et al. (2010); EPPO (2020)
-WashingtonPresent, Few occurrencesEPPO (2020)

Growth Stages

Top of page Flowering stage, Fruiting stage, Vegetative growing stage

List of Symptoms/Signs

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SignLife StagesType
Fruit / frass visible
Fruit / malformed skin
Growing point / external feeding
Growing point / frass visible
Inflorescence / external feeding
Inflorescence / frass visible
Inflorescence / webbing
Leaves / external feeding
Leaves / frass visible
Leaves / leaves rolled or folded
Leaves / webbing
Whole plant / external feeding
Whole plant / frass visible

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Agrypon flaveolatum Parasite Larvae British Columbia; Canada; Nova Scotia
Bacillus thuringiensis Pathogen Larvae
Bacillus thuringiensis galleriae Pathogen Larvae
Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki Pathogen Larvae
Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. dendrolimus Pathogen Larvae
Bacillus thuringiensis thuringiensis Pathogen Larvae
Blepharomyia pagana Parasite
Blondelia nigripes Parasite
Buathra dorsicarinata Parasite
Carduelis pinus Predator
Chorinaeus xanthopsis Parasite
Cratichneumon culex Parasite
Cystosporogenes operophterae Pathogen
cytoplasmic polyhedrosis viruses Pathogen Larvae
Cyzenis albicans Parasite Larvae
Elodia morio Parasite
Erynia radicans Pathogen
Formica rufa Predator
Hemipenthes catulina Parasite
Lypha dubia Parasite Larvae Canada deciduous forests
Megaselia rufipes Parasite
Nosema wistmansi Pathogen
Nucleopolyhedrosis virus Pathogen Larvae
Orthosoma operophterae Pathogen
Penicillium insectivorum Pathogen
Philonthus decorus Predator
Phobocampe crassiuscula Parasite Larvae
Phobocampe neglecta Parasite
Phorocera obscura Parasite Larvae
Phryno vetula Parasite
Phryxe magnicornis Parasite
Phryxe nemea Parasite
Phryxe vulgaris Parasite
Pimpla contemplator Parasite Pupae
Pimpla hesperus Parasite Pupae
Platymya mitis Parasite
Pleistophora operophterae Pathogen
Rhynchoidomonas operophterae Pathogen
Smidtia conspersa Parasite
Sympiesis xanthostoma Parasite
Telenomus minutus Parasite
Wagneria gagatea Parasite
Zenillia libatrix Parasite


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Albert R; Bogenschutz H; Konig E, 1984. Studies on the use of pheromone traps for monitoring the population dynamics of Operophthera brumata L. (Lepid., Geometridae). Zeitschrift für Angewandte Entomologie, 98(3):286-298

Alford DV, 1987. Farbatlas der ObstschSdlnge. Stuttgart, Germany: Ferdinand Enke Verlag.

Altenkirch W, 1991. Cyclic fluctuation in the winter moth (Operophtera brumata). Allgemeine Forst- und Jagdzeitung, 162(1):2-7

Altenkirch W, 1992. Monitoring and forecasting the oak-roller pest community in NW Germany. Forst und Holz, 47(3):57-60

Balazy S, 1981. Entomophthoraceous fungi on parasitic Hymenoptera. Bulletin de l'Academie Polonaise des Sciences, Sciences Biologiques, 29(5/6):227-230

Burand JP; Kim WJ; Welch A; Elkinton JS, 2011. Identification of a nucleopolyhedrovirus in winter moth populations from Massachusetts. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology, 108(3):217-219.

Canning EU, 1960. Two new microsporidian parasites of the winter moth, Operophtera brumata (L.). The Journal of Parasitology, 46:755-763.

Canning EU; Barker RJ; Nicholas JP; Page AM, 1985. The ultrastructure of three microsporidia from winter moth, Operophtera brumata (L.), and the establishment of a new genus Cystosporogenes n.g. for Pleistophora operophterp (Canning, 1960). Systematic Parasitology, 7(3):213-225

Canning EU; Barker RJ; Page AM; Nicholas JP, 1985. Transmission of microsporidia, especially Orthosoma operophterp (Canning, 1960) between generations of winter moth Operophtera brumata (L) (Lepidoptera: Geometridae). Parasitology, 90(1):11-19

Carter DJ, 1984. Pest Lepidoptera of Europe with special reference to the British Isles. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Dr. W. Junk.

CIE, 1956. Distribution Maps of Insect Pests, Map No. 69. Wallingford, UK: CAB International.

Cunningham JC; Tonks NV; Kaupp WJ, 1981. Viruses to control winter moth, Operophtera brumata (Lepidoptera: Geometridae). Journal of the Entomological Society of British Columbia, 78:17-24

Denmark; Statens Plantepatologiske Forsoeg, 1979. Plant diseases and pests in Denmark, 1977. (94th annual report). Plantesygdomme i Danmark 1977. Lyngby, Denmark: Statens Plantepatologiske Forsoeg, 69 pp

Dominik J, 1993. A mass occurrence of defoliating insects in Warsaw Agricultural University's experimental forests in Rog=w from 1945 to 1990. Sylwan, 137(8):15-21; 15 ref.

Dongen Svan; Matthysen E; Sprengers E; Dhondt AA, 1998. Mate selection by male winter moths Operophtera brumata (Lepidoptera, Geometridae): adaptive male choice or female control?. Behaviour, 135(1):29-42; 32 ref.

Edland T, 1971. Wind dispersal of the winter moth larvae Operophtera brumata and its relevance to control measures. Norsk Entomologisk Tidsskrift, 18(2):103-107.

Elkinton JS; Boettner GH; Sremac M; Gwiazdowski R; Hunkins RR; Callahan J; Scheufele SB; Donahue CP; Porter AH; Khrimian A; Whited BM; Campbell NK, 2010. Survey for winter moth (Lepidoptera: Geometridae) in northeastern North America with pheromone-baited traps and hybridization with the native Bruce spanworm (Lepidoptera: Geometridae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America, 103(2):135-145.

Embree DG; Raske AG; Wickman BE, 1991. The winter moth Operophtera brumata in eastern Canada, 1962-1988. Proceedings of a symposium, Towards integrated pest management of forest defoliators, held at the 18th International Congress of Entomology, Vancouver, Canada in 1988. Forest Ecology and Management, 39(1-4):47-54.

EPPO, 2014. PQR database. Paris, France: European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization.

Ferguson DC, 1978. Pests not known to occur in the United States or of limited distribution. Winter moth Operophtera brumata (L.) Lepidoptera: Geometridae. Cooperative Plant Pest Report, 3(48/52):687-694

Gal T; Eke I, 1975. Sweet Chestnut [Castanea sativa] pests. Kerteszet es Szoleszet, 24:19, 4.

Gillespie DR; Finlayson T; Tonks NV; Ross DA, 1978. Occurrence of the winter moth, Operophtera brumata (Lepidoptera: Geometridae), on southern Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Canadian Entomologist, 110(2):223-224

Golosova MA, 1986. Susceptibility of larvae to cytoplasmic polyhedrosis. Zashchita Rastenii, 2:31-32

Hansen T; Schadegg E, 1977. Experiments with plant protection products on fruit, horticultural and glasshouse crops 1976. Tidsskrift for Planteavl, 81:293-309

Harapin M; Jurc M, 2000. A study of important entomofauna in oak forests of Slovenia. Zbornik Gozdarstva in Lesarstva, No. 61:75-93; 24 ref.

Hogstad O, 1997. Population fluctuations of Epirrita autumnata Bkh. and Operophtera brumata (L.) (Lep., Geometridae) during 25 years and habitat distribution of their larvae during a mass outbreak in a subalpine birch forest in central Norway. Fauna Norvegica. Serie B, Norwegian Journal of Entomology, 44(1):1-10; 29 ref.

Holliday NJ, 1977. Population ecology of winter moth (Operophtera brumata) on apple in relation to larval dispersal and time of bud burst. Journal of Applied Ecology, 14(3):803-813

Holliday NJ, 1985. Maintenance of the phenology of the winter moth (Lepidoptera: Geometridae). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 25(3):221-234

Humble LM, 1985. Final-instar larvae of native pupal parasites and hyperparasites of Operophtera spp. (Lepidoptera: Geometridae) on southern Vancouver Island. Canadian Entomologist, 117(5):525-534

Ierusalimov EN, 1996. The permissible degree of damage to oak by defoliating insects. Lesnoe Khozyai^breve~stvo, No. 5:48-49; 6 ref.

IOBC, 1975. Visuelle Kontrolle im Apfelanbau. 2. Auflage. Wageningen, Netherlands: IOBC.

Kimberling DN; Miller JC; Penrose RL, 1986. Distribution and parasitism of winter moth, Operophtera brumata (Lepidoptera: Geometridae), in western Oregon. Environmental Entomology, 15(5):1042-1046

Koponen S, 1979. Herbivorous insects on birch in northern regions. Entomologisk Tidskrift, 100(3/4):231-233

Kulfan M; Septak L; Degma P; Kulfan J; Suslik V; Zach P; Kristin A, 1997. Lepidoptera larvae communities on oaks in SW Slovakia. Conference on Insects and Environment, Zvolen, Slovakia, 5-6 September, 1995. Biologia Bratislava, 52(2):247-252.

Lorentzen MH, 1974. Daily rhythm of the winter moth Operophtera brumata L. (Lepidoptera, Geometridae). Entomologiske Meddelelser, 42(3):159-167

Mannai Y; Ezzine O; Nouira S; Ben Jamâa ML, 2015. First report of the winter moth Operophtera brumata on Quercus canariensis and Q. afares in North West of Tunisia. Tunisian Journal of Plant Protection, 10(1):69-73.

Matosevic D; Liovic B; Novak-Agbaba S, 2001. Diagnostic and prognostic service - the most significant biotic and abiotic factors in 1996-2000 in Croatia. (Dijagnozno-prognozna sluzba u Hrvatskoj u razdoblju od 1996. do 2000. godine.) In: Znanost u potrajnom gospodarenju hrvatskim sumama: znastvena knjiga [ed. by Matic, S.\Krpan, A. P. B.\Gracan, J.]. Jastrebarsko, Croatia: Sumarski Institut, Forest Research Institute, 327-334.

Mol T, 1973. Studies on species of Geometridae found in the forests of the Marmara and Aegean regions of Turkey. Istanbul Universitesi Orman Fakultesi Dergisi, A, 23(1):128-173.

Navasaitis VM; Shcheponavichyus ShV, 1984. Macrolepidoptera of the 'Kamsa' botanical-zoological conservation area. Acta Entomologica Lituanica, 7:103-117

Page AM; Canning EU; Barker RJ; Nicholas JP, 1986. A new species of Rhynchoidomonas Patton, 1910 (Kinetoplastida: Trypanosomatina) from Operophtera brumata (Lepidoptera: Geometridae). Systematic Parasitology, 8(2):101-105

Peterson NA; Nilssen AC, 1998. Late autumn eclosion in the winter moth Operophtera brumata: compromise of selective forces in life-cycle timing. Ecological Entomology, 23(4):417-426; 31 ref.

Purrini K; Skatulla U, 1979. On the natural diseases of the winter moths Operophthera brumata L. and Erannis defoliaria Clerck (Lep. Geometridae) in Spessart, Bavaria. Anzeiger für Schadlingskunde Pflanzenschutz Umweltschutz, 52(2):20-24

Roland J; Embree DG, 1995. Biological control of the winter moth. Annual Review of Entomology, 40:475-492

Schwenke W, 1978. Die ForstschSdlinge Europas, ein Handbuch in fünf BSnden. Hamburg, Berlin, Germany: Paul Parey.

Sechser B, 1970. The parasite complex of the Winter Moth (Operophtera brumata L.) (Lep., Geometridae) with particular reference to pupal parasites. Part I. Zeitschrift für Angewandte Entomologie, 66(1):1-35

Sierpinska A, 1997. The use of Bacillus thuringiensis in the control of forest defoliating insects - the present state and perspectives. Bacillus thuringiensis - stan obecny i perspektywy wykorzystania w orgraniczaniu liczebnosci owadow lisciozernych. Sylwan, 141(9):63-70.

Smaglyuk NA, 1974. Red wood ants - active antagonists of the winter moth. Zashchita Rastenii, 1:46

Stalev Z, 1989. Species composition of Geometridae in forests with a predominance of Fagus orientalis. Gorsko Stopanstvo, 45(6):15-16.

Stalev Z, 1990. Studies on the species composition of the insect pests damaging the leaves of Fagus orientalis. Nauka za Gorata, 27(1):85-91; 17 ref.

Stoakley JT, 1985. Outbreaks of winter moth, Operophthera brumata L. (Lep., Geometridae) in young plantations of Sitka spruce in Scotland. Insecticidal control and population assessment using the sex attractant pheromone. Zeitschrift für Angewandte Entomologie, 99(2):153-160

Szontagh P, 1977. Outbreak conditions of Hungarian geometrid species injurious to oak. Folia Entomologica Hungarica, 30(2):139-142

Tichy V, 1981. The feeding rate of insectivorous birds in oak forests and their role in the consumption of the oak tortrix Tortrix viridana L. and the winter moth Operophtera brumata L. Prace Vyzkumneho Ustav Leniho Hospodarstvi a Myslivosti, 58:229-254

Troubridge JT; Fitzpatrick SM, 1993. A revision of the North American Operophtera (Lepidoptera: Geometridae). Canadian Entomologist, 125(2):379-397

Varley GC; Gradwell GR; Hassell MP, 1973. Insect population ecology. An analytical approach. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Scientific Publications, 212 pp.

Weiser J, 1969. An Atlas of Insect Diseases. Shannon, Ireland: Irish University Press/Prague, Czech Republic: Academia.

Wigley PJ, 1976. The Epizooliology of a nuclear polyhedrosis virus disease of the winter moth Operophtera brumata L., at Wistmanns Wood, Dartmoor. PhD thesis. Oxford, UK: University of Oxford.

Xie WD, 1988. Propagation of Cystosporogenes operophterp (Microspora), a microsporidian parasite of the winter moth, Operophtera brumata, in a Spodoptera frugiperda cell line. Parasitology, 97(2):229-237

Distribution References

Burand J P, Kim W J, Welch A, Elkinton J S, 2011. Identification of a nucleopolyhedrovirus in winter moth populations from Massachusetts. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology. 108 (3), 217-219. DOI:10.1016/j.jip.2011.08.005

CABI, Undated. Compendium record. Wallingford, UK: CABI

CABI, Undated a. CABI Compendium: Status as determined by CABI editor. Wallingford, UK: CABI

Elkinton J S, Boettner G H, Sremac M, Gwiazdowski R, Hunkins R R, Callahan J, Scheufele S B, Donahue C P, Porter A H, Khrimian A, Whited B M, Campbell N K, 2010. Survey for winter moth (Lepidoptera: Geometridae) in northeastern North America with pheromone-baited traps and hybridization with the native Bruce spanworm (Lepidoptera: Geometridae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America. 103 (2), 135-145. DOI:10.1603/AN09118

EPPO, 2014. EPPO Global database (available online). Paris, France: EPPO.

EPPO, 2020. EPPO Global database. In: EPPO Global database, Paris, France: EPPO.

Harapin M, Jurc M, 2000. A study of important entomofauna in oak forests of Slovenia. Zbornik Gozdarstva in Lesarstva. 75-93.

Mannai Y, Ezzine O, Nouira S, Ben Jamâa M L, 2015. First report of the winter moth Operophtera brumata on Quercus canariensis and Q. afares in North West of Tunisia. Tunisian Journal of Plant Protection. 10 (1), 69-73.

Mol T, 1973. Studies on species of Geometridae found in the forests of the Marmara and Aegean regions of Turkey. Istanbul Universitesi Orman Fakultesi Dergisi, A. 23 (1), 128-173.

UK, CAB International, 1956. Operophtera brumata. [Distribution map]. In: Distribution Maps of Plant Pests, Wallingford, UK: CAB International. Map 69.

Distribution Maps

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