Help! Pine looper moth experiances? (Insect damage on forests)

Will Anderson Will at
Wed Jun 11 15:55:00 EST 1997

In article <866055815.577274 at mn8>, Roland Jonsson
<roland.jonsson at> writes
>I would deeply appreciate contact to people with experiance from damages of
>the Pine looper moth and how to control them. 
I assume this is Bupalus piniaria (L), what we refer to as pine looper
in the UK? I have no personal experience of an outbreak in this country
(Scotland) but it has historically been a problem in plantations, mostly
in areas of low rainfall and sandy soil. 

The Forestry Commission (State forest service) has had a policy of
carrying out pupal counts in February to assess the likely size of
population for the forthcoming season. In a number of cases this has
resulted in the aerial spraying of plantations to control the larval
stage of the moth. The forest I am most familiar with (regarding pine
looper) is Tentsmuir, near St. Andrews in Fife. If my memory serves me
then the last outbreak of pine looper occurred in the late 1970's or
early 1980's. The frequency of these outbreaks is unpredictable, hence
the reliance on annual pupal counts.

Your attack, if it is causing damage, seems to be earlier than in the UK
as damage from feeding larvae is noticed from late August and into
September. Larval feeding damage occurs after buds have been laid down
and the Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) has a reputation for recovering
from these attacks (although loss of increment is inevitable) but in
Britain there have been cases of attacks of stressed trees by the pine
shoot beetle (Tomicus piniperda). The survival depends on the general
health of the trees prior to the attack.

This is not a significant pest in UK forestry (except in the above
mentioned areas) and I am not aware of any recent research on control. I
have looked back my old college notes which suggest spraying with
tetrachlorvinphos but this is very much out of date and I expect that
the chemical has now been banned!

Is there a possibility that some of your research organisations -
Universities or your state forest service - may have some further
information on this? 

Will Anderson

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