Looper damaging Fraser fir

Editor’s note: This article is from the archives of the MSU Crop Advisory Team Alerts. Check the label of any pesticide referenced to ensure your use is included.

We have found a looper (inch worm) causing a lot of feeding damage in Fraser fir. This caterpillar is anywhere from 0.25 to 1.0 inch long, light green with dark green and white stripes. The head capsule is light brown. The larva chew notches out of the needles, which after a few days, turn brown in color. You will also find needles hanging from silken threads. Most of the damage has been to the top part of the tree, but feeding can be found throughout the tree.

We don’t usually have insect problems at this time of the year, so it may go unnoticed until the trees have a significant amount of damage. I would suggest growers take a walk through your Fraser fir fields now. Bring along a scouting board or white sheet of paper and tap the trees (like sampling for spider mites) to find these larvae.

Photo 1. Looper.

Looper damage
Photo 2. Fraser fir damage caused by looper.

Looper damage
Photo 3. Fraser fir damage caused by looper.

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