PINE TIP MOTH
common name: Pine Tip Moth
scientific name: Order Lepidoptera, family Tortricidae, Rhyacionia spp.
size: Adult--1/2", larva--1/4" to 3/8"
identification: Adult is reddish brown with silver-gray markings. Larva is light brown to orange with dark head.
biology and life cycle: Overwinter in pupa. Emerge to deposit eggs late February in South Texas and April in North Texas, depending on weather. Two to five generations per year; varies according to cool weather.
habitat: Pine forest, Christmas tree plantations.
feeding habits: The hatching larva construct a small silken web in the axil formed by the needles and stem, then bore into the stem at the tip of the bud. Larva feed for two to four weeks before pupation.
economic importance: Most damaging to Christmas tree plantations; damage to the buds causes deformed young trees.
natural control: Egg parasites such as trichogramma wasps, spiders on adults, bats and birds.
organic control: Fast-growing, healthy trees show resistance. Seemingly not a problem on large trees.
insight: With a good organic program, we could be growing all our Christmas trees economically here in Texas instead of importing them down from the North.