Pine Beetle Identification

Pine trees are always subject to insect attack and should be examined periodically to determine if insect problems are developing. Several species of small brown or black beetles are common pests of pine trees. They are often referred to as pine bark beetles since they are found chewing through and developing in the bark. These beetles may attack different or overlapping sections on the tree trunk. It is important to distinguish between the different types of beetles because control measures may need to be directed at different areas on the trunk.

Pine bark beetles usually attack trees that have been struck by lightening or injured during home construction. Local outbreaks can develop following severe wind or ice storms. Bark beetles can be distinguished from each other by their size, shape and attack patterns on the trees. Trees attacked by the beetles will usually have tell-tale signs. Numerous pitch tubes are usually present on the tree trunk at various heights and reddish-brown boring dust will be collecting in the bark crevices.

Black turpentine beetles attack the lower 2 feet of the trunk and may eventually spread up to 15 feet high.

Southern Pine Beetles attack the upper part of the tree.

IPS Beetles attack the whole tree, from top to bottom.

Ambrosia beetle dust will accumulate around the base of the tree. This type of beetle attacks soon after the bark beetle. The needles begin to lose their green coloration a few weeks after being attacked.

Trees with yellow, red or brown needles should be suspected as having bark beetles Pruning of live pine branches should be done between November and February to prevent the sap from attracting beetles. Trees should not be climbed using tree spikes. Spike wounds will attract beetles. Green pines cut for fire wood should not be stacked near healthy pine trees. This may attract bark beetles to the yard trees. Trees that have been attacked by certain types of pine beetles may not be saved. If you suspect a pine beetle infestation, identify the type of beetle in order to properly treat the tree.

Identifying Pine Bark Beetles

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