Moths Is a large family of pest butterflies, numbering more than 1,500 different species, many of which live in Russia. One of them is the pine moth, an insect that has seriously affected the country's coniferous forests several times.
It can appear throughout the entire area of pine growth, including the central and northern regions of the European part, the Caucasus, the Urals, Altai. A large number of this pest after a mass invasion usually persists for another 7-8 years.
Appearance and difference from other types
Like all other butterflies of the moth family, this one has a slender, slender body, wide raised upper wings and rounded hind wings. Thus, pine differs from the rest only in color.
REFERENCE! In terms of external characteristics, the fir moth is most similar to it, which has yellow-gray wings with dark brown spots on them.
Male - has a wing size of 30-38 mm, a dark-colored mustache, comb. The wings are dark brown with small spots of white or yellowish tint. Large spots of an almost triangular appearance are formed at the base of the wings. The body of the butterfly is narrow, dark in color.
Female - has a wing size of 32-40 mm, whiskers are yellow-brown, bristly. The main color of the wings is rusty brown. The spots on the upper part are yellow-white, similar to the color of the wings of the male, on the lower part, they are dark, and do not have a clearly defined border. The chest and abdomen are much larger and thicker than that of the male, and have a lighter color.
Caterpillar - after hatching from eggs, it is 3 mm long, completely green with a yellow head. At the next stage of life, it receives its typical color - blue-green or yellow-green basic color with three longitudinal white stripes, also passing over to the head area. Adult caterpillars reach 22-31 mm in size. They have three pairs of legs in the chest, one in the abdominal and one more false.
Chrysalis - has a length of 11-14 mm, initially green, and then turns shiny brown. Has a pointed end.
Photo of pine moths:
What pine moths eat
The main food of the insect is Scots pine needles. But in some cases, it can also feed on spruce, fir, cedar and other conifers.
Not only natural plantings can suffer, but also nurseries, decorative plantings, personal plots. The greatest risk of moth emergence is in low-lying areas of relief, with medium to high humidity.
The pine moth begins to multiply in large numbers during the hot dry summer period, turning into warm autumn. Under these conditions, caterpillars can destroy large areas of coniferous forest.
IMPORTANT! The invasion in 1940-1944 covered almost the entire European part of the USSR.
Pines that have lost their crown as a result of such an event do not have time to restore it in a short period and begin to dry out. Weakened trees can later become infected with various stem pests - bark beetles, barbel beetles, etc. They first feed under the bark, and then begin to gnaw through the passages in the wood itself.
In 1-2 years, the tree suffers such damage that it completely loses its value for the economy, and can no longer be used for industrial needs.
Pest development stages
Adult butterflies can appear in forests at the end of May, however, mass distribution usually occurs in mid-June - early July.
Mating of butterflies occurs with their appearance after the beginning of summer. After that, the female leaves eggs on the old needles, in rows up to 32 pieces in each (usually 4-7 pieces). In the event of a mass invasion, they can appear on the needles of the current year. The average number of eggs from one butterfly is 80-230 pieces.
Development occurs within 3 weeks, but in favorable warm conditions (temperature +25 degrees) this can occur in 8 days.
Caterpillars begin to feed immediately after hatching. At the first stages of life, they gnaw through the longitudinal grooves in the needles, then, as they grow, they serrate it on both sides, but without damaging the trunk and base. In adulthood, the needles are eaten almost entirely.
REFERENCE! During its life, the moth caterpillar destroys about 100 needles, or 3.5 kilograms.
Food takes place at night. First, the needles of the last year are destroyed, then the caterpillars are taken for fresh, all this continues until late autumn. In October, pests descend to the ground in the litter, where pupation takes place. Wintering takes place in the same place.
Butterflies hatch during warm weather in May and early June, after which the cycle repeats.
Even taking into account the fact that by the fall the pines had already suffered irreparable damage, there is a set of measures that will interrupt the development cycle at the moment the caterpillars turn into pupae, and those, in turn, into butterflies.
For this you need:
- In autumn, collect all the fallen leaves, needles and grass litter in several heaps;
- Send animals there to graze, for example, pigs or goats, which will dig in heaps and the ground, finding and eating pupae.
Very often, early frosts can seriously reduce the moth caterpillar population.
Great help for the prevention of an invasion, as well as the destruction of an already appeared pest, can be provided by:
- Ants, shrews, moles, hedgehogs and other animals that feed on insects;
- Various birds.
When a large number of pupae appear, the entire area must be treated with insecticides or biological products (organophosphorus drugs, neonicotinoids and pyrethroids).
For the prevention or destruction of a pest in a personal plot, apply:
- Autumn digging of soil around trees to destroy caterpillars that pupate in the soil;
- Spraying trees with biological products during the appearance of buds;
- Installation of lures with fermentation additives on trees to attract caterpillars hatched from eggs.
Pine moth Is a dangerous pest that can infect pine and other coniferous forests. Its caterpillars feed on needles, as a result of which the tree weakens, dries up, and can be inhabited by bark beetles and other insects.
To prevent the invasion of moths, it is necessary to attract birds to forests, settle anthills, and protect small insectivorous animals.