WSU Extension

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Caption: Pine butterfly
Photo by: Unknown
  
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Pine : Pine butterfly
(revision date: 4/20/2015)


Biology
The larva of the pine butterfly is a dark green caterpillar with white stripes on the sides and a black head. The caterpillars feed on the needles, hatching out when new needles begin to appear. Young larvae feed in clusters on the older needles, while older larvae feed singly. They cause relatively little damage except in years of severe outbreaks. Adult pine butterflies are white with black markings and closely resemble the cabbage butterfly. The preferred host tree is ponderosa pine.
Management Options

Non-Chemical Management
  • Remove and destroy caterpillars by hand to control minor infestations.
  • Prune and destroy branches with large clusters of feeding larvae, when practical.
Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

Chemical Management


Apply when caterpillars are present. Homeowners should not make foliar applications to trees over 10 ft tall. Consult a commercial pesticide applicator for treatment of trees and shrubs over 10 ft. tall.

Listed below are examples of pesticides that are legal in Washington. Always read and follow all label directions.
  • Safer Brand Caterpillar Killer for Trees, Shrubs & Vegetables Conc II [Organic]
    Active ingredient: Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki  |  EPA reg no: 70051-106-42697
  • Safer Brand Caterpillar Killer/Trees, Shrubs, & Vegetables Conc
    Active ingredient: Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki  |  EPA reg no: 42697-23
  • This list may not include all products registered for this use.
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Caption: Pine butterfly
Photo by: Unknown