Spruce budworm

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Spruce budworm
Choristoneura hebenstreitella01.jpg
Mountain-ash tortricid
Choristoneura hebenstreitella
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Clade: Euarthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Tortricidae
Tribe: Archipini
Genus: Choristoneura
Lederer, 1859

Several, see text

  • Cornicacoecia Obraztsov, 1954
  • Hoshinoa Kawabe, 1965

Spruce budworms and relatives are a group of closely related insects in the genus Choristoneura. Most are serious pests of conifers. There are nearly forty Choristoneura species, and even more subspecies, or forms, with a complexity of variation among populations found throughout much of the United States and Canada, and about again this number in Eurasia.



Budworm populations are usually regulated naturally by combinations of several natural factors such as insect parasites, vertebrate and invertebrate predators, and adverse weather conditions. During prolonged outbreaks when stands become heavily defoliated, starvation can be an important mortality factor in regulating populations.

This species is a favoured food of the Cape May warbler, which is therefore closely associated with its host plant, balsam fir. This bird, and the Tennessee and bay-breasted warblers, which also have a preference for budworm, lay more eggs and are more numerous in years of budworm abundance.

Natural enemies are probably responsible for considerable mortality when budworm populations are low, but seldom have a regulating influence when populations are in epidemic proportions.

Chemical insecticides such as malathion, carbaryl, and acephate can substantially reduce budworm. Microbial insecticides such as bacterium species Bacillus thuringiensis(Bt), a naturally occurring, host-specific pathogen that affects specific insect larvae based on the bacteria strain. Bt insecticides are often used in sensitive areas such as campgrounds or along rivers and streams, where it may not be desirable to use chemical insecticides with modes of action that affect fish and mammals.

The eastern spruce budworm is one of the most destructive insects of fir and spruce forests throughout Canada and the eastern United States.[1] In locations such as New Brunswick, pesticides were applied to over 3.6 million hectacres from 1952 to 1958 and 1960 to 1967. This use of chemical control effectively decreased the mortality rate within this area and prevented significant economic impact.[2] For biological methods, birds are important in controlling populations of the eastern spruce budworm below outbreak levels,[3] and the parasitic wasp Trichogramma minutum was investigated as a solution as well.[4]

Appearances in the media[edit]

In the Katharine Hepburn/Spencer Tracy film Desk Set, the market cost of the annual depredations of the spruce budworm on United States forests is invoked as an example reference question in comparing the response times of human reference librarians and early computer databases.

External links[edit]


  • Lederer, 1859, Wien. ent. Monatschr. 3: 426.
  • Brown, J.W., 2005: World Catalogue of Insects volume 5 Tortricidae.
  • Kawabe, A., 1965: A revision of the genus Archips from Japan. Tyô to Ga 16 (1/2): 13-40. Abstract and Full article: [1].
  • Liu Y.-q., 1983: A new species of Choristoneura injurious to Metasequoia in Hubei province (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae). Entomotaxonomia 5 (4): 289-291. Full article: [2].
  • Nedoshivina, S.V., 2007: On the type specimens of the Tortricidae described by Eduard Friedrich Eversmann from the Volgo-Ural Region. Nota Lepidopterologica, 30 (1): 93-114. Full article: [3].
  • Razowski, J, 2008: Tortricidae (Lepidoptera) from South Africa. 6: Choristoneura Hübner and Procrica Diakonoff. Polish Journal of Entomology 77 (3): 245-254. [4].
  • Razowski, J. & M. Krüger, 2013: An illustrated catalogue of the specimens of Tortricidae in the Iziko South African Museum, Cape Town (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae). Shilap Revista de Lepidopterologia 41 (162): 213-240.
  • Razowski, J. & P. Trematerra, 2010: Tortricidae (Lepidoptera) from Ethiopia Journal of Entomological and Acarological Research Serie II, 42 (2): 47-79. Abstract: [5].