Forest Pest Insects in North America: a Photographic Guide

Pitch pine tip moth

Rhyacionia rigidana (Fernald) (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae)

Orientation to pest

Pitch pine tip moth, Rhyacionia rigidana (Fernald), is a member of a group of very similar moths, and it resembles Nantucket pine tip moth, Rhyacionia frustrana (Fernald) in appearance and biology. But unlike R. frustrana, this moth can attack and kill large pitch pines (Pinus rigida Mill.). Besides pitch pines, this native North American tortricid attacks several other native or introduced pines. The feeding of pitch pine tip moth larvae kills branches or leaders, and may kill the entire tree. There are three generations per year in the southern United States, but only one in the north.

Hosts commonly attacked

In North America, this moth attacks several native or exotic pines, including pitch (P. rigida), Corsican (Pinus nigra J.F. Arnold), Viriginia (Pinus virginiana Mill.), red (Pinus resinosa Sol. ex Aiton), Scots (Pinus sylvestris L.), loblolly (Pinus taeda L.), and slash (Pinus elliottii Engelm.) pines.


This moth is found from Georgia to Texas, north to Missouri, New York, and Maine.

Important biological control agents related to this pest species

Little to no information is available on the natural enemies of this species, apart from some parasitoids reported from this species in Missouri (Kearby and Taylor, 1975).