How to Manage Pests

Pests in Gardens and Landscapes

Cypress tip miner—Argyresthia cupressella

The cypress tip miner is the most common Argyresthia pest of arborvitae, cypress, juniper, and redwood in coastal areas of the West. Adults are silvery tan moths. Females lay scalelike eggs on green tips. Eggs hatch into yellow or green larvae that feed on branch tips until late winter or spring. Larvae spin slender, white, silken cocoons between the twiglets.


Foliage yellows in early winter, browns by late winter or spring, then recovers its green color during spring and summer.


Provide proper cultural care to keep plants vigorous. Prune out and dispose of foliage infested with immature leafminers to restore the plant's aesthetic appearance and provide some control. Consider replacing plants especially susceptible to the cypress tip miner. High populations and damage can be reduced on established plantings by applying a broad-spectrum, persistent insecticide such as acephate on susceptible varieties when adult moths are active. Beginning in early spring, examine foliage tips for the cocoons. When these appear, vigorously shake foliage and watch to see if silvery tan, tiny moths fly up then settle back on the foliage. One application to foliage can be made when a large number of tip moths appear, between March and May in California. This reduces browning next season.

Silvery tan adult tip miner
Silvery tan adult tip miner

Browning of juniper
Browning of juniper caused by tip miner

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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