A Field Guide for Ground Checking Southern Pine Beetle Spots
Southern Pine Beetle Handbook
United States Department of Agriculture
Combined Forest Pest Research and Development Program - Agriculture Handbook No. 558 - Issued November 1979
Other Bark Beetles
For a couple of weeks after attack, you may find SPB adults within the S-shaped galleries where they lay eggs. The SPB itself is surprisingly small, considering the amount of damage it can do. The adult beetle measures only 1/8 of an inch long and is black or dark brown. Because of their small size, you may have difficulty recognizing SPB adults among the many other bark-inhabiting insects. Again, the S-shaped galleries provide telltale evidence that SPB killed the tree, even when the beetle themselves are no longer present.
The southern pine beetle is not the only destructive bark beetle in the South. Other beetles, including Ips beetles and the black turpentine (BTB), also kill pines, but usually in small, scattered outbreaks not requiring control. This means that you must be able to tell the difference between SPB attacks and those of other bark beetles. Identification can be difficult because the various beetles are similar in many ways.
Yet there are unmistakable differences. For instance, the black turpentine beetle is about ¼ of an inch long, which makes it more larger than the southern pine beetles.
|Figure 3. Pitch tubes of SPB.|
Also, the BTB normally limits its attacks to the lower 10 feet of the trunk, while the SPB attacks at almost any height on the tree. Pitch tubes of the BTB usually are reddish and much larger than those of the SPB (fig. 4). The black turpentine beetle's galleries follow no distinct pattern.
|Figure 4. Pitch tubes of
black turpentine beetle.
|Figure 5. Galleries of
the adult Ips beetle.
Differences between SPB and Ips beetles are less obvious because the insects are similar in size. Adult galleries provide the best clue for recognizing Ips attacks. They are long, straight tunnels often joining to form a Y or H shape. Ips galleries usually are not packed with frass (fig. 5). Keep in mind that Ips and black turpentine beetles may occur in the same tree as the southern pine beetle.
Developed by the University of Georgia Bugwood Network in cooperation with USDA Forest Service - Forest Health Protection, USDA APHIS PPQ, Georgia Forestry Commission, Texas Forest Service
and the Pests and Diseases Image Library - Australia
Last updated August 2018
www.barkbeetles.org version 2.0