Northern Pitch Twig Moth – Petrova albicapitana

Northern Pitch Twig Moth (Petrova albicapitana)

Latin Name:  Petrova albicapitana

Common Name: Northern Pitch Twig Moth


  • The northern pitch twig moth (Retinia albicapitana) is an unexpected pest of pine.
  • This month’s larvae produce brownish, hollow pitch blisters at branch junctions.
  • Adults are tiny reddish-brown moths with a 14–21 mm wingspan and a mottled appearance.
  • In a 3- to 4-foot Scotch pine field, a farmer recently reported discovering abnormally big numbers.

Host plants: Jackpine, lodgepole pine, ponderosa pine, red pine, mugho pine, scots pine


The northernmost portions of the Northwest Territories are likely to be where you’ll find them. It reaches down to Montana and the Lake States in the United States.

Damages caused by Northern Pitch Twig Moth:

Northern pitch twig moth-caused stem malformations are frequently more severe and prevalent on jack pine than on other pine hosts. Weakened and crooked stems and many stems are common problems associated with broken leaders; occasionally, some height growth loss occurs.

Description about Leafminers:

Leafminer adults are tiny flies with yellow areas on their thorax, legs, and abdomen. They are 0.1 inches (2.5 mm) long, black to blue, and have yellow portions on their thorax, legs, and stomach. There is frequently a visible yellow patch towards the base of the wings. The white eggs are hidden behind the leaf’s epidermis and hatch in 4 to 6 days. Maggot larvae are typically buried between leaf surfaces in the mines where they feed; they range in color from yellow to white, are 0.25 to 0.33 inches long, flat at the back end and pointed in front, and are 0.25 to 0.33 inches long, blunt at the back end and pointed in front. Pupation is carried out underground or in mines. During the summer, the life cycle lasts around 23 days.

Life History and Habits: 

Northern pitch twig moth adults are tiny, mottled, rusty brown moths with a 14–21 mm wingspan. In July, P. albicapitana eggs are laid singly at the terminal buds at the base of needle sheaths. The eggs range in colour from cream to golden and are roughly 0.5 mm long. After a few weeks, they emerge as larvae. Each juvenile larva excavates its chamber in the bark tissue after hatching and eats alone. Overwintering larvae build a tiny resinous bubble over the feeding spot. A nymph goes through five stages of development and is yellow to orange-brown. It is 15–17 mm long when fully grown, with a reddish-brown head and thoracic shield. It has a thinly coated body.