European pineneedle midge

European pineneedle midge - Adult, lateral view
  • Latin name: Contarinia baeri (Prell)
  • French name: Cécidomyie européenne du pin
  • Order: Diptera
  • Family: Cecidomyiidae


Quebec, New Brunswick, Ontario



Damage, symptoms and biology

The European pineneedle midge feeds on foliar tissue within the needle sheath, causing one of the two needles in the fascicle to wilt and turn brown. The browned needle eventually separates from the other, which remains green. This phenomenon is more easily observed in August, when the affected foliage begins to drop and injured needles remain in the crown of the tree.

Even during a severe infestation, only a small proportion of twigs die and the tree is seldom seriously affected.

When the needle fascicle detaches from the twig, it drops to the ground, bearing the larvae, which overwinter in cocoons in the litter at the base of infested trees. The adult emerges in June and July. The female deposits her eggs on needle sheaths in the upper part of the trees.

Life cycle (East of the Rockies)

Life cycle (East of the Rockies)
Stage/Month J F M A M J J A S O N D

Other information

The European pineneedle midge is of European origin and was likely introduced into America roughly 40 years ago. In eastern Canada, short infestations are regularly observed, affecting Scots pine and red pine.

Cutting out affected current-year shoots can improve the appearance of slightly or even moderately infested trees.

Canadian Forest Service Publications

European pineneedle midge

Diet and feeding behaviour

  • Phyllophagous : Feeds on the leaves of plants.
    • Miner: Feeds inside the blade of a leaf, between the epidermal layers, or beneath the bark of plants, by first excavating a mine into these tissues.
Information on host(s)

Main host(s)

Red pine, scots pine

  • European pineneedle midge Pair of needles spread to show the position of the larva
  • European pineneedle midge Pupa
  • European pineneedle midge Adult, lateral view
  • European pineneedle midge Pair of Scots pine needles, one affected, the other intact
  • European pineneedle midge Scots pine branches partially stripped after 1 year of attack
  • European pineneedle midge Appearance of damage at the base of an affected needle
  • European pineneedle midge Pair of Scots pine needles, one affected, the other intact
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