Q: I was told by a tree removal company owner that diesel fuel poured around the base of a pine tree will be absorbed by the tree and kill the beetles. I am skeptical. Is this true?
A: You’re right to be skeptical. Your source may be skilled at removing trees but he knows nothing about insect control. Diesel fuel will certainly damage the tree roots. There is not much a homeowner can do to prevent pine beetle attacks or to kill them once in a tree. Since the severity of beetle damage in an area varies greatly from year to year, my best advice is to keep all of your pines watered in summer and to inspect the trees twice each year for discolored needles or resin blobs stuck to the bark. Details at xrl.us/pinebeetle