Pine Bark Beetles
Cooperative Extension Service, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, The University of Georgia Bulletin 1097, October 1993, 8 pp.
If beetles are active on your property, what can you do?
Look for the signs of recent beetle attack (eg. pitch tubes, boring dust, etc.) on your trees, not just changes in crown color.
Identify the beetles that are causing the problem by removing bark and examining adults and/or gallery patterns present.
Locate and mark all trees that have been attacked and identify all trees with developing brood.
Determine and begin appropriate management action(s) immediately. Current methods for dealing with bark beetle infestations are summarized below. Articles listed in the reference section can provide you with greater detail on management strategies. Contact your county Extension agent, Georgia Forestry Commission office or city arborist for assistance if you need help. Many tree surgeons or pest control companies also have the expertise and equipment to help you in dealing with bark beetle.
Before starting any management tactics, remember:
- If SPB or one of the Ips beetles have successfully constructed egg and larval galleries in a tree, the tree will die either as a result of the girdling of the tree by larval feeding, or the introduction and subsequent proliferation of blue stain fungi.
- If BTB are infesting the tree, it may be possible to save it if larval feeding has not completely girdled it and you take prompt action.
Insecticides can be used to protect high-value, healthy trees and/or kill brood within infested trees if used properly. Before or when using insecticides, it is important to:
- Correctly identify the beetles causing the damage
- Carefully identify trees needing treatment,
- Use appropriate chemicals and application methods,
- Apply the chemicals in a timely manner,
- Cover each tree thoroughly, and
- Treat all trees that contain developing brood.
A Preventive Chemical treatment can be used when the cost of the treatment is more than offset by the potential losses that could occur should beetles attack and kill the tree(s). Preventive chemical applications protect trees from beetle attack for periods of several months up to a year if properly applied. This method is frequently used to protect high value trees in landscape, yard plantings and nursery stands when there has been beetle activity nearby. Don't apply insecticides to trees infested by SPBs or Ips beetles, unless the tree cannot be cut down and removed before the beetle brood emerges. Don't apply insecticides to trees from which bark beetle broods have already emerged. Spray trees damaged by construction equipment with an approved insecticide as a preventive measure against attack by BTBs, particularly if beetle activity has been high in the surrounding area. Contact your county Extension or Georgia Forestry Commission office for pesticide information.