Western Pine Tip Moth – Rhyacionia bushnelli

Western pine tip moth (Rhyacionia Bushnelli)

Latin Name: Rhyacionia Bushnelli

Common Name: Western pine tip moth


The western pine tip moth (Rhyacionia bushnelli) belongs to the Tortricidae family of moths.

  • The wingspan is around 13 mm. Yellowish grey and reddish-brown mottling may be seen on the forewings.
  • Gray is the color of the hindwings. Every year, a new generation is born.
  • Pinus species, particularly Pinus ponderosa, provide food for the larvae. Later instars feed inside needle sheaths or buds, then penetrate new shoots and mine within growing shoots, while younger larvae feed between needles or mine.
  • The species spends the winter as a pupa.

Host plants: Ponderosa pine and Monterey pine

Territory: It is found throughout the United States, containing Alabama, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Montana.

Damages caused by Western pine tip moth:

Western pine tip moth larvae are the only stage that results in damage. Shoots covered in matted frass, dead needles, and webbing are all signs of an infestation. In the top and mid-crowns of young ponderosa pines, larval feeding causes harm. Larvae feed on the shoots and buds of young pines, distorting and killing both terminal and lateral shoots, stunting development, and deforming trees. The damage is unattractive, but the tree is seldom killed.

Gall maker’s description:

Galls are tree growths that wasps, flies have taken over, and other insects to create a casing of plant tissue that protects and supports the gall maker’s growing young. Gall-maker insects include a variety of wasps, flies, and a few aphids and mites. Most growths, except some twig and stem galls, do not affect healthy trees. Galls can develop on the leaves, bark, flowers, buds, or roots of plants. Over half of these fascinating critters are attracted to oak trees.

Life history and Habits:

A single generation per year occurs for most parts of the intermountain West. Pupae are seen in cocoons in the more it or in the soil beneath afflicted trees throughout the winter. Adult moths emerge in late May or early June, mate, and then lay eggs on young tree needles, buds, and branches. Newly hatched larvae either eat or mine between the needles. Later instars eat inside needle sheaths or buds, then go into new shoots and mine inside them. By midsummer or fall, the larvae have completed their growth, emerged from the shoots, and fallen to the ground to pupate, where they will spend the winter.