Nantucket Pine Tip Moth – Rhyacionia frustrana

Nantucket Pine Tip Moths (Rhyacionia frustrana)

Latin Name: Rhyacionia frustrana

Common Name: Nantucket pine tip moths


  • Rhyacionia frustrana, or Nantucket pine tip moths, are around 1/4 inch long with a wingspan of about 1/2 inch.
  • They have silvery patterns and are copper in hue. The eggs are tiny, convex, and white to orange in color.
  • The caterpillars, about 3/8 inches long and have brown heads, are usually cream in color.
  • Pupae are fusiform, brown to dark brown, and about 1/4 inch long.

Host plant:

More than pine species have been recorded as host trees for Rhyacionia frustrana like loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) Cuban, Pinus, cubensis Griseb. jack, Pinus banksiana Lamb. Monterey, Pinus radiata D. Don .oocarp, Pinus oocarpa Schiede and pitch, Pinus rigida Mill etc.


Rhyacionia frustrana, the second most widely distributed native North American member, may be found from Massachusetts to Florida, and west to Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, and California. In addition to the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Jamaica, Mexico (Oaxaca), Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, it is also found in Mexico (Oaxaca), Cuba, Jamaica, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua.

Damages caused by Nantucket pine tip moths:

Boring into the tops of young trees causes slower development, crooking, and forking of main stems, cone diminution, and, in extreme situations, tree mortality. Trees up to 15 feet tall are the most commonly attacked. In more giant trees, widespread destructive infestations have been reported on sometimes.

Description about Gall makers:

Gall makers arrive in silence, like old buccaneers, but without eye patches or shoulder parrots. They also confiscate their rewards quickly and effectively, putting them to work doing their bidding with eye-catching results. Gall-producing insects include a variety of wasps, flies, and a few aphids and mites. Instead of transporting its loot to a secluded cove, the gall maker chemically hijacks a leaf bud or other spot on a tree to construct a casing of plant tissue that protects and nurtures the gall maker’s growing children. Over half of these fascinating critters are attracted to oak trees. Galls can develop on the leaves, bark, flowers, buds, or roots of plants. Except for some twig and stem galls, most growths do not affect healthy trees.

Life history and Habits:

New moths emerge to mate on warm days as early as January and February. Females deposit their eggs on the needles, stems, and buds of plants. Depending on the weather, tiny caterpillars hatch 5 to 30 days later and feed on the surface of new growth or dig into the needle bundles. Later on, they travel to the shoot tips, build protective webs at the base of buds, and start boring into the bud or stem. Feeding will continue indoors for 3 to 4 weeks or until the caterpillars are entirely developed. Depending on the temperature, there may be up to four to five generations every year, with chilly weather extending the life cycle and warm weather shortening it.