The pine processionary moth Thaumetopoea wilkinsoni Tams is a serious pest on pine trees in southwestern Turkey. The efficacy of a naturally derived insecticide, spinosad, on fourth-fifth instar larvae of T. wilkinsoni was studied under laboratory conditions. The product exhibited strong larvicidal activity and at doses above 5 mg litre(-1) caused > 90% mortality in the fourth-fifth larval stages of the species after 72 h. At 72 h the LD50 and LD90 values were 3.26 and 5.69 mg litre(-1) respectively. The results showed that spinosad is highly effective on T. wilkinsoni larvae. (c) 2006 Society of Chemical Industry.