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University of Illinois Extension

Pitch Mass Borer

pitchmassborerHosts, Description and Symptoms

Pine pitch moth adults resemble yellowjackets. The adults are clear wing moths. There are many types of pitch moths. All are in one genus – Synanthedon sp. Single eggs are laid on the bark of the pines. Larvae of some species tunnel into the cambium area soon after hatching. They make a hole in which they feed. Sap oozes out of these pits/holes. The pitch mass borer (Synanthedon pini) attacks Austrian, eastern white, Scots and Jack pines as well as white, Norway and Colorado blue spruce. Adults are only seen during the summer and the insect can take up to three years to complete its life cycle.


Check with your local land grant university (Cooperative) Extension Service for 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.