Hoppe Tree Pest Alert: Zimmerman Pine Moth

Written by John Sepulveda, Certified Arborist WI-1454A

Zimmerman pine moth, Dioryctria zimmerman, is a native pest that infects many species of pine in North America. It particularly will infest Scots and Austrian pines, and to a lesser extent mugo and eastern white pines.


The adult is a reddish-brown color with a zig-zag pattern on its body. However it is rarely seen as it usually is active at night. The caterpillar is more likely to be seen and is a dirty white or grey color. The larva infests the pines’ branches and the main trunk. It is a burrowing caterpillar so it destroys the soft tissue that transports water and nutrients in the tree. This damage to the tree can make it weak and often causes branches to break off. Stresses such as injury from weather or drought can make the pines more susceptible to being infested as they cannot as easily fight off the moth.


Signs of Zimmerman Pine Moth Infestation

Signs that a pine is infested may include browning of the tips of branches. The adults lay their eggs on the bark and when the eggs hatch, the caterpillars will eventually bore into the trunk. This causes a pitch mass, a sappy resinous material, to form that is usually whitish-yellow. The boring into the branches also leaves a bit of coarse sawdust near the entry point that is usually caught in a loose webbing left by the caterpillar. This can usually be found near branch attachment points. Extensive feeding by the moth can lead to death of the top of the pine.


What to Do If You Suspect Zimmerman Pine Moth In Your Trees

With Zimmerman pine moth, there are options for control. Hoppe’s certified arborists can diagnose possible problems with your tree, and set up a customized plan for treatment or preventive care. Hoppe’s Plant Health Care team of certified commercial pesticide applicators can execute the plan.


If you are concerned that your pine tree may have an infestation, give us a call at 414.257.2111 or request a quote. One of our certified arborists can come out to diagnose potential issues and consult with you on solutions.


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Since 1972, Hoppe Tree Service has been taking care of people and their trees. Join us as we celebrate 50 years of service to great customers in southeastern Wisconsin.

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