Integrated Pest Management

Sequoia Pitch Moth

Synanthedon sequoiae

sequoia pitch moth

Sequoia pitch moth (Jerald E. Dewey, USDA Forest Service,

sequoia pitch moth pitch mass

Pitch mass with empty pupal case (Scott Tunnock, USDA Forest Service,

pitch masses

Pitch masses at the base of a tree caused by sequoia pitch moth larvae (Scott Tunnock, USDA Forest Service,

Pest Description

  • adults: 1 – 1 1/2 inches; black with yellow markings
  • look like paper wasps
  • larvae: up to 1 inch; pinkish white with brown head capsule

Host Plants, Diet & Damage

  • Austrian pine; scotch pine; other pines
  • larvae feed on cambium tissue and sapwood
  • primarily found in the trunk and larger branches
  • larvae found within large resin masses on bark or in a bark notch behind the resin mass
  • pupal skins extrude from exit holes in the resin mass
  • damage is aesthetic; cause unsightly resin masses on trees, but rarely harm trees
  • resin masses/old wounds can be re-infested

Biology, Life Cycle & Damaging Life Stage

  • overwinter as larvae within resin masses or in tree
  • adults are active late-April through August (northern Utah)
  • eggs laid on bark near wounds or old attack sites
  • larvae bore directly into cambium/sapwood layers to feed
  • one generation every 2 years, but overlapping populations occur
  • larvae are the damaging stage

IPM Recommendations

  • Management is typically not needed.
  • Properly plant and keep trees healthy.
  • Pick resin masses from tree and crush larvae within.
  • Avoid pruning/injuring trees April through August.
  • Insecticide treatments are not recommended; specifically systemic insecticides (e.g., imidacloprid, dinotefuran) are not effective.