The Q&A Archives: Beetles In Cypress

Question: Several weeks ago I asked for help in determining how to control small black beetles that bore into the tips (8-10inches) of my lelandii, which causes these tips to die and fall off. I have taken these insects out of a branch with my pocket knife and killed them. On occasion I have even found a larvae inside the branch. You sent me a response but my wife didn't know what it was and lost it somehow. Please re-respond again.

Answer: The cypress tip moth feeds on a wide variety of cupressaceous trees but most notably on Lawson cypress, Leyland cypress, Monterey cypress, Italian cypress, Oriental cedar and some species of juniper having scalelike leaves. Other closely related species of the genus Argyresthia also cause similar damage to these and other cupressaceous trees.

Summer and fall feeding larvae hollow out and kill individual scale leaves, but more severe damage occurs during early spring when entire twigs and branchlets are mined. Repeated heavy infestations may eliminate any apparent growth. Heavily infested trees suffer considerable dieback, imparting a scorched appearance to the foliage. Trees are seldom killed but their attractiveness is marred.

If this description matches the symptoms, why not take a sample of the problem to your local Cooperative Extension office? You'll find helpful people at University of California Extension, 4145 Branch Center Rd., Sacramento 95827-3898. Phone (916) 366-2013

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