Pine tip moths feed on and destroy new growth (terminals) of pines
grown throughout many parts of the world. Injury often is quite conspicuous, and infested plants may
appear unattractive. Although little real injury to the health of the
infested tree results from pine tip moth attacks,
tree growth can be delayed and the form altered to a bushier appearance.
Tip moth injury can be diagnosed during early to midsummer by
examining suspect shoots that have dried and shriveled. At this time,
the damaging stage of the insect or old discarded skins can be detected.
If the insect is not present, examine the damaged terminal growth to
see if there is evidence of the internal tunneling typical of most tip
I typically cut off the dead part of the plant and wait for a new shoot to develop. Control of the pine tip moth is generally not needed, however you can treat with a variety of insecticides. Pyrethroid insecticides that
are labeled for use on shade trees, such as products containing
bifenthrin, permethrin, or
lambda-cyhalothrin, can be very effective against exposed larvae.
The systemic insecticide
acephate (Orthene) may kill small larvae that have already begun to
tunnel into pine tips.
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