Masson Pine Moth

**This organism is not known to be present in the United States but poses a threat. The Masson pine moth is a significant defoliator of natural and planted pine stands in southeastern Asia. Heavy defoliation from Masson pine moth has resulted in reduced growth and increased mortality. In the early 2000s it was considered the most economically damaging forest pest in southern China.

In addition to the economic and environmental damage it causes, Masson pine moth also causes health problems for many individuals who come in contact with the caterpillars or cocoons. When the hairs come in contact with skin many individuals develop rashes. Headaches, dizziness and localized arthritis have also been reported. 


The most likely pathway for introduction is on infested plant material especially pine trees, seedlings, and bonsai, as well as on cut branches and Christmas trees. Non-host plants grown in proximity to an infested area may include overwintering larvae in the soil.

Once introduced, moths are strong fliers and are able to fly up to 20 kilometers on their own. Artificial spread can occur if infested material is moved from the point of introduction to new locations unknowingly. 


Within its native range and where it has been introduced and established, Masson pine moth feeds primarily on Masson pine, Pinus massoniana. Many of the known host species are not available in the US but some are common in the Southeastern United States including slash pine (Pinus ellottii) and loblolly pine (P. taeda).

Susceptibility to North American species is not known.



Think you've spotted this pest?

If you think you've found this pest in your landscape contact your local extension office to see about sending in a sample.
Find your local extension office here.