Do I Need to Worry About Pine False Webworms?

By: albertaarb - June 10, 2015

Pine false webworms are a type of insect that utilizes trees as habitat that supports the proliferation of their species, similar to the famous emerald ash borer that has been a blight on trees across North America. Millions of mature trees have died as a result of this infestation, razing large sections of entire forests in the process.

Due to this terrible trend, when you notice that a tree on your property appears to be the home of insects not usually found in your neck of the woods, it's vital to determine whether or not your trees face imminent danger of destruction.

Profile of the Pine False Webworm

Known as the acantholyda erythrocephala among entomologists, the pine false webworm is originally from the European content, likely making its way to North America through infected imports. Unlike the true pine webworm, the pine false webworm creates tinier nests without the telltale sign of silk-spun tunnels and runways that allow for transport. Pine false webworms also typically produce less than 6 larvae during its reproductive cycle, which are relatively small broods compared to other insect species.

Reproductive Cycle

Pine false webworms cover their spawn in cocoons through the winter season, resting in the Earth. When spring arrives, the prepupae evolve into the true pupae and about a month later an adult pine webworm emerges.

The cycle begins when a female lays between two and six eggs on the needle of a tree. When hatched, the larva shift to the base of older needle, creating silk webs that help trap the food of the webworm – the needles themselves. When they finish growing into mature larvae, they drop and burrow into the ground, awaiting their transformation in spring.

What Do They Do to Trees?

Mature trees that are heavily infested become stripped of older needles. The larvae leave behind biological waste and other unsightly remnants on branches, needles and even on the ground.

Seedlings face the greatest threat, as pine false webworms strip the still-young needles off these young trees, resulting in the occasional death of heavily-infest, young trees.

While it’s unlikely that pine false webworms will destroy a forest of mature trees, if you have seedlings or smaller needled trees on your property, you risk having the webworms wipe out freshly planted trees.

Talk to Someone Who Knows About Pine False Webworm

At Alberta Arborists, we prefer to take a preventative approach when dealing with insect infestations and disease. If your tree is strong and healthy because it is receiving sufficient water, sunlight, proper pruning and is utilizing nutrients from the surrounding soil, it will be better able to defend itself against insect and disease infestations. For more information about our tree service please do not hesitate to contact us.

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