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Orange Worms on Tips of Pine Needles

It seems that all of my pine trees, including Ponderosa and Mugo, have been invaded by a small pumpkin orange worm that bores into the tip of the new shoot of each branch. They generally show up in late spring and kill all the new growth on the trees, which sometimes can be up to six inches. Is there anything I can spray on the trees that will get rid of these worms?

The culprit is European pine shoot moth. The larvae (worm-like borer) of this orange moth overwinters in the buds of infested pines. As the weather warms the larvae leave their winter homes, bore into buds and young shoots and eat their way through the stem tip. Their feeding causes the tips to wilt and eventually die. Prune out dead shoots as soon as they are covered. Native parasites may move in to untreated plants to feed on these pests and reduce, not eliminate, the damage. Use insecticides as a last resort. Treat in spring when the saucer magnolia buds begin to show pink. Both proper timing and thorough coverage is critical for their control. This requires knowledge, the right equipment, and protective clothing. Consider hiring a certified arborist. They have the knowledge, training and equipment to do the job correctly and safely.


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