Pitch & Bark Moths

Pitch moth attacks appear as large, ugly masses of pitch that form at a wound site in response to larval feeding beneath the bark. Bark moth attacks typically produce less pitch. Adult moths are rarely observed and are difficult to differentiate from other members of the genus.Pitch moths require 2 years for one generation to mature, overwintering as larvae each winter. Bark moths require only 1 year for a generation to mature, overwintering  as eggs or larvae. Eggs are laid in bark crevices or near mechanical wounds on the bark. Newly hatched larvae tunnel under the bark forming irregular galleries  or elongated gouges in the sapwood. Pitch moth larvae feed on pitch the tree produces in response to their tunneling. Oozing pitch masses               25 to 75 mm in diameter cover entry holes and conceal larvae and their destructive tunneling. Full-grown larvae are 15 to 25 mm long, dirty white, yellow, orange, green, or light brown. Bark moth larvae feed on the inner bark and when full grown, are marked with rows of dark spots. These moths mostly effect Piñon, ponderosa pine, and               occasionally Douglas-fir and true fir. Larger branches, limbs, and trunks of young trees are attacked. Repeated attacks can seriously weaken and kill branches. The most severe damage is to trees under 6 m, especially in urban areas. The insects               are rarely a problem on larger trees or in the forest environment.

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