Pine Tip Moths

    Pine Tip Moths

    Eucosma; Diorctria; Petrova; Rhyacionia

    pine tip moth

    Adult pine tip moth (USDA Forest Service - Ogden Archive,

    pine tip moth larva

    European pine shoot moth larva (Milan Zubrik, Forest Research Institute - Slovakia,

    pine tip moth damage

    Pinyon tip moth damage (Brytten Steed, USDA Forest Service,


    Pest Description

    • adults: wingspan ~ 3/4 – 1 inch; wings held tent-like over back; color variable
    • larvae: 1/2 – 3/4 inch; dark brown to orange red with dark brown head capsule and thoracic plate
    • pupae: ~ 5/16 – 1/2 inch; yellowish brown to dark brown, depending on age
    • eggs: nearly flat, green turning to orange red and laid on needles, needle bases or bud scales

    Host Plants, Diet & Damage

    • pine, spruce, Douglas-fir and arborvitae
    • damage is primarily aesthetic
    • feed on buds, twigs, terminal shoots; some feed on cones
    • bore into and kill twigs and terminals causing wilting, dead tips and deformation; flagging/crooking
    • resin, frass and webbing may be present at damage sites
    • damage typically most severe in nursery setting

    Biology, Life Cycle & Damaging Life Stage

    • overwinter as larvae or pupae on branches, trunks, within galleries or soil, or debris next to host
    • emergence or activity begins in early spring prior to or around budbreak;
    • some species emerge later
    • depending on species, some larvae will leave host tissue in mid- to late
    • summer to find overwintering sites
    • one generation per year
    • larvae are the damaging stage

    IPM Recommendations

    • Manage trees to improve or maintain overall health.
    • Minor damage does not require management.
    • To prevent damage in areas where these moths are present, apply an insecticide (pyrethroid) to foliage.
    • Identify tip moth species to determine treatment timing. For most species, treatment is just prior to or just after budbreak.