Pine Bark Beetles
Cooperative Extension Service, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, The University of Georgia Bulletin 1097, October 1993, 8 pp.
Encourage vigorous tree growth. Susceptibility to beetle attack increases with stand age and slow diameter growth. Shorten pine rotations in areas where beetles have historically caused considerable timber losses.
Delay harvest and thinning operations or severe pruning until winter when beetle activity has declined if bark beetles are active in your area.
Remove storm- or lightning-damaged pine trees as quickly as possible. Damaged pines are ideal sites for the start of bark beetle infestations.
Minimize mechanical tree damage such as skinning of the trunks, partial pushovers, etc. during construction or harvesting operations. Tree damage from recent logging activities favors all kinds of bark beetles.
Remove and salvage skinned trees next to skid trails, logging roads and loading decks.
Build barricades around trees to prevent mechanical damage by equipment in yard and landscape environments. Try to minimize root damage by keeping trenching and digging to a minimum.
Maintain final soil level around tree trunks and roots at the same height as it was before construction during landscaping operations.
Maintain recommended stocking rates for commercial forest sites. Overstocking results in reduced diameter growth and creates conditions favorable to beetle infestations. Thinning of overstocked stands improves tree growth and vigor and reduces the chances of bark beetle attack. Thinning intensity depends on the age of the stand, site index, total stand density and management objectives. In Georgia, basal areas of 80-100 feet-squared per acare are recommended to reduce the potential for a beetle attack. Pine stands in the northern half of Georgia are susceptible to ice damage if thinned to heavily. Planting around 600 pines per acre will reduce the number of thinnings required, thus lessening the effects of ice.
Contact the Georgia Forestry Commission county office if you are a commercial timber producer. The Commission routinely conducts aerial surveys for bark beetle detection. From the air, Commission personnel identify and locate possible beetle activity and mark these spots on maps for follow-up ground verification. These aerial detection surveys provide important information for bark beetle prevention and suppression programs. The surveys are available to you and can help you locate beetle spots.
Be alert for possible bark beetle infestations in the vicinity of your property . If you see spots of dead or dying trees, ask your county Extension agent, Georgia Forestry Commission personnel or city arborist to investigate the spot or check it yourself. These spots may have occurred since the last aerial survey was completed, or the landowner may not have been notified of the infestation.
If trees are dying as a result of an active bark beetle infetation, the landowner/homeowner should be told about the infetation, or county/state government officials should be notified of the infestation. Hopefully, the landowner will take action against the infestation before it spreads to your property.