Pine Ambrosia Beetle

Q: I was wandering my property in Jackson county and found sawdust at the base of some pine trees. I decided it was the southern pine beetle so I took out several trees and thought I had taken care of the problem. But this weekend I went back to the property and found this at the bottom of four more trees.

A: Just about anyone who hikes through the woods might note the prodigious amounts of boring dust that ambrosia beetles produce. There are several creatures that make “sawdust” at the base of a tree. Borers typically have sawdust that’s “grainy” and it may be a light pink color. Southern pine beetle makes a white sawdust….. but the amount is usually so small that you only see it clinging to the tree trunk, not deposited heavily around the base.

I’m not an entomologist but I’m going to guess that your ambrosia beetle is a member of the Platypus species.

Now that we have it tentatively identified, what can you do about it?

In a word, nothing.

There are no insecticides, injected, systemic or topical that can penetrate consistently to where the beetles are boring.

I’m going to recommend that you consider hiring a forest arborist who knows about tree insects and their damage. They can tell you if any more of your trees need to come down in order to halt the spread of the insects.

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