Losing sleep over bark beetles?

Do you have:

  • Storm damaged pines,
  • Drought-stressed pines,
  • Fresh pine log decks still in the woods, or
  • Lots of fresh pine logging slash?

If your answer to any one of these was yes, then you probably do have bark beetles populations developing in these materials. Pine trees that were drought-stressed, damaged, broken off or recently logged are perfect food and habitat for pine bark beetles this summer. If these materials are not quickly cleaned up, a generation of bark beetles will develop in them and then may move into nearby undamaged pine trees.

bark beetle galleries

Bark beetles use pine trees for food, shelter and for raising their young. They live in the inner bark, a thin layer between the outer bark and wood. You can check for bark beetles by using a stout knife or hatchet to peel back the bark and look for tunnels and galleries along the surface of the wood. At the end of their life cycle, young adult bark beetles chew their way out of the tree, creating what looks like shot-holes in the bark. Trees attacked by bark beetles can have up to 150 bark beetle emergence holes per square foot of bark. Bark beetles complete a generation in 30 to 40 days. They will re-infest the same tree or log as long as the inner bark is creamy and moist. Otherwise, they will fly away seeking another stressed or damaged tree or a fresh log.

But, do you really need to lose sleep? Do you have plans to:

  • move the logs and large diameter slash out of the stand (within 3 weeks of its cutting),
  • burn, chip or debark dead and decadent pines (before this generation develops), or,
  • pile and tarp the pine firewood and keep it covered for a year?

If the answer is yes to any of these questions, then you can get your rest tonight. Otherwise, it'll be Sominex again.