Forest Pest Insects in North America: a Photographic Guide

Lodgepole needleminer

Coleotechnites milleri (Busck) (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae)

Orientation to pest

Lodgepole needleminer, Coleotechnites milleri (Busck), is a native North American gelechiid moth whose larvae mine needles of lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta Douglas ex Loud.). Larvae of all ages mine needles. Sustained and repeated outbreaks of this species have occurred in Yosemite National Park in California, causing widespread tree mortality. The adults are active from mid-July to mid-August in odd numbered years (each generation requires two years). Eggs are laid in late summer and hatch the same year. First instars mine a single needle, near the growing tip, and overwinter inside the minded needle. The following year, larvae feed on several needles (as needle miners) and develop to the fourth instar by the end of their second growing season. Fourth instars overwinter in mined needles and in the third year, fifth instars complete their feeding inspring, pupate in mined needles, and emerge as adults by mid-summer.

Hosts commonly attacked

The only known host is lodgepole pine (P. contorta).


This insect is found in the western North American (USA and Canada) within the range of lodgepole pine.

Images of lodgepole needleminer

Adult of lodgepole needleminer Kipling Will 768x512
Larva of lodgepole needleminer Scott Tunnock, USDA Forest Service, 768x512 / 1536x1024
Damage from lodgepole needleminer USDA Forest Service - Ogden Archive, USDA Forest Service, 768x512 / 1536x1024
Stand of lodgepole pine damaged by lodgepole needleminer Louisiana State University Archive, Louisiana State University, 768x512 / 1536x1024
Figure 1. Adult of lodgepole needleminer, Coleotechnites milleri Figure 2. Larva of lodgepole needleminer Figure 3. Damage from lodgepole needleminer Figure 4. Stand of lodgepole pine damaged by lodgepole needleminer

Important biological control agents related to this pest species

Many parasitoids and other natural enemies attacked this species during the declining phase of an outbreak in California (Struble, 1967). Collectively the larval and pupal parasitoids caused 28-46% mortality.