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University of Illinois Extension

European Pine Shoot Moth & Nantucket Pine Tip Moth

Hosts & Symptoms

European Pine shoot moth

This moth attacks red, mugo, Scots, Austrian, ponderosa and a several other pines. The beetle kills the tips of the branches – terminal and laterals. There is one generation per growing season. Eggs are laid at the base of new needles in late spring. After hatching, the insect mines the base of the needle. The insect tunnels into the shoot from the base of a needle. The needle usually dies and turns brown during the summer. By the middle of summer, the insect has moved into the new buds. By late summer the insect stops feeding. The European pine shoot moth tends to over-winter in the injured tissue Severe infestation may give the infected tree a reddish appearance. Severe infestation on small trees may cause their death. This insect is more of a problem in Christmas tree farms and in commercial tree nurseries then in the home landscape. Drought and poor growing conditions seem to increase damage by this shoot moth.



Nantucket pine tip moth

This moth attacks all pines with two or three needles per bundle except for two of these pines not normally grown in the midwest. This insect usually has several generations per growing season.


Prune out and destroy the dead branch tips. Check with your local land grant university (Cooperative) Extension Service for the recommended insecticide.

Written by James Schuster, Retired Extension Educator, Horticulture & Plant Pathology, and reviewed by Dr.Philip L. Nixon, Extension Specialist-Entomology, Department of Crop Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Filed under plants: Evergreen Trees & Shrubs

Filed under problems: Insects Damage

More information is available on Hort Answers.