Infestation of Pine Tip Moths
I have about 350 second-year loblolly pine trees. About 50 percent of them are infested with pine tip moths. I sprayed them with Malathion but it had no effect on them. I picked off many of the tips, but the larvae seemed to burrow down deeper into the stems/branches. What can I do to get a handle on this problem?
I think you have the redheaded pine sawfly and not a pine tip moth. Here is an excellent fact sheet on the redheaded pine sawfly. The adult is a fly and the larva looks like a caterpillar, but it is not.
Here is another excellent fact sheet with great pictures of both the adult and the larva. Both fact sheets contain controls. https://insects.tamu.edu/extension/publications/epubs/eee_00020.cfm
After reading your response and materials, I still believe that I have pine tip moths. The larva is totally red and is embedded in the tips. The tips are coated with white candle wax-like secretions. Do you have additional suggestions?
I am sorry that I have misdiagnosed your problem. If you do have pine tip moths, here is an excellent fact sheet. http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/fidls/nantucket/nantucket.htm
From what I have read, the cost of the systemic insecticide is too high compared to the amount of control. Also, the pines will grow taller and outgrow the stage that they are damaged by the pine shoot moth.
And this has great photos of the various stages of the caterpillar, the damage, and the adult.