Pine Caterpillars

by James B. “Jim” Kea
Area Extension Forestry Agent – now retired
Thursday, February 9th, 2006

Numerous small pines in the area have appeared to have lost needles overnight. The culprit has been the redheaded pine sawfly caterpillar. The caterpillar is about one inch long and has a reddish-brown head and a greenish- yellow body with black spots.
Early stages eat only the needle ends while more mature stages return to eat the remainder. Small trees may be killed if completely defoliated or at least stunted.

Often, caterpillars will be eaten by rodents or die from diseases. Small trees may be protected by removing the caterpillars or by using Sevin dust or liquid.

DISCLAIMER: Recommendations for use of chemicals are included in this newsletter as a convenience to the reader. The use of brand names and any mention or listing of commercial products or services does not imply endorsement by the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service nor discrimination against similar products or services not mentioned. Individuals who use chemicals are responsible for ensuring that the intended use complies with current regulations and conforms to the product label. Be sure to obtain current information about usage and examine a current product label before applying any chemical.


Revised 2/16/2006.

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