The white pine weevil is probably the most serious pest of white pine in the area. The attacks of this insect stunt or distort trees and can kill two or three year's growth.
Host Trees. Most seriously attacked: white pine, Norway spruce and jack pine. Commonly attacked: pitch pine, Japanese red pine, western white pine, limber pine, foxtail pine and red spruce. Occasionally attacked: Scotch pine, western yellow pine, mugho pine and black spruce. Rarely attacked: red or Norway pine, Himalayan blue pine, blue spruce, white spruce and Douglas fir.
Life History. The adults are reddish-brown snout beetles about a quarter-inch long which are marked irregularly with patches of brown and white scales. Adults overwinter in litter on the ground and resume activity in April. The weevils prefer small trees three to 15 feet in height and seldom attack trees growing in the shade of other trees. They go to the terminal shoots and feed on bark tissue. The weevils then chew small pits in the leader and lay their eggs there in May. The eggs hatch in a week to 10 days and the legless grubs feed on the inner bark and tissues that produce tree growth. When several larvae are feeding, the shoot is soon girdled and dies. The grubs mature and pupate inside the leaders. Adult beetles emerge from late June to early September. Since spring egg-laying lasts more than a month, one shoot can contain larvae in various stages of growth. There is only one generation a year. After emergence, the beetles spread to new areas by flight.
Damage. The first sign of attack ranges from small, glistening droplets to resin oozing from tiny holes in the leader. This is caused by adult weevils that are feeding before egg-laying. As the terminal is girdled, the new shoot of the current year's growth withers, the tip bends over and turns brown. This is usually noticeable about mid-June. Examination of the dead shoots will show the white larvae or pupae beneath the bark or in the wood and pitch. The year's growth is always killed, but up to five year's growth is commonly killed. The result is forked and crooked trees.
Control. Cut and burn weeviled leaders from the time the leader begins to wilt until the first half of July to kill the weevils inside. One or more of the lateral branches will take over and grow as the new terminal shoot. Spray the top of the tree thoroughly from all sides in April before the buds break. Be sure the terminal cluster is coated with spray. Lindane can be used to control white pine weevil. Use according to label directions.
Milton G. Savos, Extension Entomologist (Emeritus), University of Connecticut
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