Contents: By Damage and Image
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Contents: Alphabetical
alder flea beetle
aphid management
apple and thorn skeletonizer
apple ermine moth
azalea bark scale
azalea lace bug Updated
bark lice
Barypeithes root weevil
Beneficial nematodes
biocontrol of root weevils
birch aphid
black stem borer
bluegum psyllid
borers
branch and twig borer
brown marmorated stink bug

bronze birch borer
boxwood leafminer
boxwood psyllid
bulb flies
carpet beetle New
Calligraph californica
caterpillars

Ceanothus stem gall moth
cereal leaf beetle
cherry ermine moth
chilli thrips
cinnabar moth

clay colored weevil
cottony camellia scale
cutworm Updated
craneflies
cypress tip moth

dogwood sawfly
Douglas fir sawfly
Douglas fir twig weevil
earwigs
elm leafminer
European pine shoot moth
European shot-hole borer
European wool carder bee
emerald ash borer
Fall webworm
flatheaded cedar borer
hollyhock weevil
honeylocust plant bug
honeylocust pod gall midge
Heliothis phloxiphaga
holly bud moth
huckleberry root aphids
ground mealybug
lacebugs
lady beetle gallery
leaf weevil
light brown apple moth
maple tip moth
maple midge
March flies
mountain ash sawfly
spruce aphid on spruce
oak ambrosia beetle
oak slug
obscure root weevil
Pacific flatheaded borer
peach tree borer
peach twig borer
pear psylla
pear leaf-curling midge
pear sawfly New
pine needle scale
poplar and willow borer
rose curculio weevil
rose midge
roseslug
sawflies
scale
sequoia pitch moth
speckled green fruitworm
spittlebug
tent caterpillars
thrips
viburnum leaf beetle
violet gall midge
western poplar clearwing
western spotted cucumber beetle
white pine weevil
whiteflies
woolly ash aphid

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Cinnabar moth

Cinnabar moths, Tyria jacobaeae, were released in Oregon to control the noxious exotic weed, tansy ragwort, Senecio jacobaea. Tansy ragwort showed up in the Portland area in 1922 and spread throughout the state. Livestock and deer that graze on tansy ragwort may suffer fatal liver failure. The economic losses due to livestock feeding on tansy ragwort can be quite high, in the millions of dollars.

In 1976, the Oregon Department of Agriculture declared tansy ragwort a noxious weed. In the meantime, researchers, led by OSU's Peter McEvoy, were searching the original home of tansy ragwort, Europe, for biological control agents. Cinnabar moth was one of three natural enemies released to control the weed. It was first released in the 60's with additional releases thereafter. The grayish-black moths with red patches on the wings established and provide biological control of this weed. The moths lay their eggs on the underside of the leaves of tansy during the late spring. Soon small orange and black caterpillars hatch from the eggs. They feed first on the lower side of the leaves on which the eggs were laid, then move onto the developing flower buds and leaves. They pupate on the ground in the leaf litter. There is one generation a year.

While largely considered a biological control success story, the cinnabar moth larvae can feed on a native plant in Oregon, arrowleaf groundsel, as well as the weed species of groundsel. I've also seen it feeding on a heather (but I don't know if it will survive on that host to maturity). And the cyclic fluctuations in the growth of tansy ragwort may require patience while cinnabar moth populations increase to meet the need.

Additional Reading

Isaacson, D.L. 1973. A Life Table for the Cinnabar Moth. Entomophaga 18 (3) pp. 291-303.

Novak, Teresa. 2005. Researchers are using new bugs, biology and trickiness to fight an invading green army. Oregon Ag Progress. Accessed 25 June 2014.

Gallery

Cinnabar moth
cinnabar moth

Cinnabar moth
cinnabar moth

Cinnabar moth caterpillars on tansy ragwort
cinnabar moth larvae on tansy ragwort

Cinnabar moth caterpillars feeding on tansy ragwort
cinnabar moth larvae on tansy ragwort

Cinnarbar moth caterpillars feeding on tansy ragwort
cinnabar moth caterpillars feeding on flower buds of tansy ragwort

Cinnabar moth caterpillars feeding on leaves of tansy ragwort
cinnabar moth caterpillars feeding on tansy ragwort leaves

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Robin Rosetta

Page last modified 6/25/14

 

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