Pine Tip & Pine Shoot Moths Description:
Pine tip and pine shoot moths are the caterpillars of moths that attack conifer trees, causing a drought-like appearance to the tree.
Pine trees are the primary hosts for the European pine shoot moth and Nantucket pine tip moth. Specifically, Austrian, lodgepole, loblolly, mugo, Scots, ponderosa and red pine are susceptible.
Pine Tip & Pine Shoot Moths Life Cycle:
Pine tip and pine shoot moth adults emerge in late spring or early summer. The adults lay eggs that hatch into small caterpillars that weave a yellowish-white web for protection, and then proceed to feed on needle bases and eventually tunnel the center of the pine shoot.
Pine Tip & Pine Shoot Moths Damage:
The insects feed on the inner part of the shoot, causing it to turn brown. This can cause the full branch to droop or curl. In severe cases, the tree will develop a red tint and appear as if it is drought-stricken.
Pruning infested branches can help control damage to the tree. Pine tip and pine shoot moth caterpillars or pupae overwinter in infested shoots until spring. Pruning branches that are currently damaged will help eliminate the pests for the following year. In addition, an insecticide treatment can be used to prevent young caterpillars from tunneling into tree shoots. Talk to a professional arborist about treatment options that are available. Treatment is most effective in late spring and mid-summer when pine tip and pine shoot moth caterpillars are in their adolescent stage.
*Photo credit - Clemson University - USDA Cooperative Extension Slide Series, Bugwood.org (first photo)
*Photo credit - Gyorgy Csoka, Hungary Forest Research Institute, Bugwood.org (second photo)
*Photo credit - Mariusz Sobieski, Bugwood.org (fourth photo)