Pine Tube Moth

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Individual Pine Tube Moth (Argyrotaenia pinatubana) caterpillars use silk to form a hollow tube by binding together 10 - 20 needles.  They then move up and down their silk-lined tube to feed on the tips of the bound needles.  Once they've almost eaten themselves (literally) out of house and home, the caterpillars will move to another set of needles to repeat their tube-making needle-feeding behavior.  The caterpillars eventually pupate within their needle tubes.

 

Pine Tube Moth

 

There are two generations in Ohio with second generation pupae spending the winter inside needle tubes.  The moths are generally considered more of an oddity than a significant pest on eastern white pines planted in landscapes in Ohio.  Populations of this native moth seldom reach outbreak levels and their damage often goes unnoticed until affected needles turn brown in mid-to-late summer.  Crushing the pupae in their overwintering needle tubes is an effective (and satisfying!) control measure on small trees.

 

Pine Tube Moth