Our arborist says we have Zimmerman Pine moths larvae in our Austrian Pine – do you have any product to help deal with them?
Due to the fact that specimen labels for pesticides include a finite list of target pests, it’s sometimes not easy to find a specific insect listed. Such is the case with Zimmerman Pine Moths.
Fortunately there are a few products that work well at controlling local infestations because how the Zimmerman moths infest trees is similar to many other pests. And the treatments for these other pests will work equally well on the Zimmerman moths.
As you may or may not know, Zimmerman moths hatch as worm like larvae which feed on any species of pine but seem to really like Austrian and Scotch. Though secretive by nature and very rarely seen, the symptom of seeing “popcorn” like pitch masses on the bark or branch whorl is a good indication Z4515284maimmermans are at work. Sawdust can also be found when larvae are active.
Unlike many insects which overwinter in their pupae case, Zimmerman moth larvae are more likely to hibernate as small larvae. These worm like caterpillars hatch late summer and throughout the fall. Typically this late season brood won’t feed but they’re easy to target since they’re young, vulnerable and still active on the outside of the host tree bark. Once hatched, they’ll forage on the bark of the host tree looking for nooks, cracks and gaps in which to roost. Eventually they’ll chew their way in and cover themselves in a white silk designed to protect them all winter.
The following spring they’ll get active burrowing deep into the phloem of the host tree. For the next few months they keep active chewing away and in some cases moving out and in creating more and more entry points all of which tend to weaken the host tree.
In mid summer the larvae pupates into adults which emerge, mate and lay eggs. This happens quickly and at night so they’re hard to spot or see active. During the day they’ll lie motionless relying on their camouflage to keep them hidden from predators.
Eggs will hatch in late summer through fall so exterior sprays can really impact the activity by breaking the cycle, covering up pheromones and ending the larvae activity before they begin boring for the winter.
The best spray for this is the oil based MAXXTHOR EC. Its fast acting and highly repellent to any insect so treatments done to a trees exterior will both kill hatching larvae and repel other bugs too.
Mix 1 oz per 5 gallons of water and saturate the bark of any tree needing protection. Be sure to spray up as high as possible and make monthly treatments from spring to fall for one year.
Use a good HOSE END SPRAYER to deliver the product. In general, these can reach 20-25 feet in height depending on the water pressure at your home.
When using this sprayer, you’ll need to add 1 oz of Maxxthor to the sprayer and then add water filling it to the 5 gallon line. This means you’ll be pumping about 5 gallons of mixed material out when spraying and this should be enough to treat 1-2 trees that are in the 10-12 inch width range. Remember to treat the infested tree along with any close by you want to protect.
For highest reach, get one of our NO PUMP SPRAYERS. This vunique sprayer is simple yet very good, easy to use and one of our “favs” for applying insecticides to your homes exterior and landscape (its too powerful for use inside).
Ideally suited for reaching heights of 40+ feet, it has no moving parts other than the valve you hold for spraying and the adjustable brass “bullet” nozzle.
This sprayer is essentially a tank that can hold water, chemical and up to 130 psi of air. The top lid has a clamp and rubber gasket that seats on the “inside” of the sprayer so as you fill it with air, the seal will naturally remain in place, nice and tight.
The top has 3 “ports” (pic below). The port to the far left is used to fill the tank with air. Using any electric air pump (the kind you would use the fill tires on your car), you can safely pressurize this sprayer up to 80 psi. The tank is rated for up to 130 lbs but the relief valve will only allow you to fill it to 80-90 psi before it starts to release. This happens as a safety precautionary action.
For normal use around the home, 50-60 psi should be enough for you empty the liquid from the 2.5 gallon tank assuming you only add 1 gallon of mixed product. True, the sprayer can “hold” 2.5 gallons of liquid but you need room for the air. Our tests show that 50-60 psi will pump out an entire gallon of spray allowing you to reach 25-30 feet heights.
For reaching 40+ feet or higher targets, pressurize the sprayer to 80 psi and again, mix up only what you plan on using and no more than 1 gallon of mixed solution at one time so the tank has enough room left to store all the needed “air”. One charge of 80 psi is enough to get the entire mixture to spray out so you don’t have to be concerned about constantly recharging.
The 5 GALLON NO PUMP can hold over 2 gallons of mixed material and can perform equally as well.
Remember, YOU WILL NEED AN AIR COMPRESSOR POWERFUL ENOUGH TO FILL THIS SPRAYER!! WE RECOMMEND ONE THAT CAN DO AT LEAST 100 PSI.
3 GALLON SETUP (remember to only fill it with 1 to 1.5 gallons of mixed solution so you leave room for air)
$300.00 (287757)(10% OFF WHEN ORDERING ONLINE)
5 GALLON SETUP (remember to only fill it with 2.5 to 3 gallons of mixed solution so you leave room for air)
$350.00 (287774)(10% OFF WHEN ORDERING ONLINE)
WATCH THIS VIDEO ON THE “NO PUMP” SPRAYER FOR OPERATIONAL DETAILS
Since the larvae will drill down deep into the trees bark, you can many times impact them using a systemic known as PROTHOR. Apply this once a year to get the tree embedded with the active that will protect it against any insect.
To treat, you’ll need to make access holes in the ground using a piece of rebar or a pick-axe. The average tree 12″ wide will need 10-15 holes that go at least 12″ down in the ground and they need to be inside the drip line. For a tree 10 inches wide, you’ll want to use at least 1-2 oz of Prothor mixed in 5 gallons of water. This treatment can be done any time of the year and should be done annually.
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Once it’s been eradicated, do you need to continue preventing every year?
Tech Support says
That’s your call. In fact most all insect problems can be prevented by treating every now and then. For something like ants or palmetto bugs here in the south, treating every month or so really helps. But pine moths aren’t as persistent so you may be able to go a few years with no issue. That being said, systemically treating with the Prothor will stop most any pest from taking advantage of your trees so using it once a year would help keep them healthy and happy. And since it doesn’t cost much to do, probably a good idea.
PS: Are you signed up for our informative twice a month Pest Report Newsletter? More info here: https://bugspray.com/bugspray_pest_report.html
Leland Hecker says
We have 7 white pine in a row? gray streaks many feet long. Some 1 inch with, one tree has a gray like look 10 feet, maybe 4 or 5 inches wide, starts about 8 to 10 feet from the top of tree, and trails down to within 4 feet of the ground. the other white pine, have a few spots 1 to 2 foot running down, couple inches wide. is it just normal tree gray colored tree sap, or would a zimmerman moth, some other bug be the problem????
Tech Support says
Its really not possible for us to tell for sure based on a description and often, even if you send a pic its hard to say. But please send one to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll take a look to at least see what you see.
Also remember its not too costly or time consuming to treat for this pest. The Maxxthor listed above is not costly and can cover a lot of trees. So doing a treatment would probably a worth while investment no matter what if you want to keep these trees healthy. Remember, young ones are prone to all kinds of attacks from insects as they are highly desireable.
Maxxthor EC: https://bugspray.com/catalog/insecticide/liquid/maxxthor_ec.html
I have a pine tree in northern Wisconsin that has an infestation and the branches are curling up and turning brown near the trunk but no one around here seems to know what it is. Could I send a picture to you to see if you might recognize it? I hope your product will work on it but I would like your opinion.
Tech Support says
Of course you send us a picture, email@example.com and we can look. But its not likely we tell you anything new. You state you have an “infestation” correct? If so, follow our treatment for Tree Borers posted here:
Tree Borers: https://bugspray.com/tree-borer-control.html
The Maxxthor on the bark, the Prothor applied systemically and the Joy Juice added to the Prothor will resolve anything it could be including the Zimmerman. The only thing it won’t handle would be a canker and if you want to add some Honor Guard to the drenching solution, that would resolve any active fungus.
Honor Guard: https://bugspray.com/yard/fungicide/honor-guard