Pine Bark Beetle

Pine bark beetles generally attack less vigorous or stressed pines, especially ones weakened by a continual drought, storm damage, strong winds, old age, prevailing diseases, and other insect infestations.

As attacking beetles bore into the bark, the tree will ooze pitch (resin) as it attempts to seal damaged bark making “pitch tubes”. Visible signs of attack are boring dust on the bark, white dust around the base of the tree, and loose bark that peels away from the infected tree with ease.

The tunnels created by pine bark beetles will eventually cut off the supply of water and nutrients to the tree. As the tree becomes starved for water, its needles change from dark green to light green, yellow, and eventually, brown. Once the beetle has effectively killed the tree, exit holes can also be found.

Although bark beetles can be extremely destructive, landowners can take steps to manage them and reduce losses. Maintaining healthy trees is a land owner’s best policy for preventing pine beetle attacks.

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