The European pine shoot moth can pose a threat to your red, mugo, Scotch, and Austrian pine trees. The adult insects are small moths that appear from mid-June to mid-July with silver lines across the front wings. Eggs are laid near the base of buds or on shoots.
The most serious injury these insects cause is during spring feeding by larvae. Larvae spend winters in shoot buds of these pine trees and then move to undamaged shoot buds to feed during the Spring.
Tree shoots damaged by larvae will often wilt, turn brown, and die. Early signs of infestation are yellowing of needles near the tips of shoots. During the first year of infestation, the number of larvae is usually relatively small and the damage caused can often escape notice of homeowners. However, as the infestation multiplies, larvae become numerous and a large portion of the tree’s buds becomes infected. When this happens, the tree may die within a few years from the severity of damage.
The intensity of infestation is often closely related to weather patterns and environmental factors. Many naturally occurring parasites keep populations of the European pine shoot moth in check, but are never a guaranteed control measure. Outbreaks of infestation are less likely to occur during cold winters with little snow cover to insulate the branches. Christmas tree nurseries where multiple pine species are in close proximity to one another can be susceptible to attacks from this moth. 30 to 50 trees should be randomly selected and inspected fro signs of infestation. If you notice signs of infestation from the European pine shoot moth, contact Eric to discuss treatment options to control the spread and intensity of the infestation.