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How to Get Rid of Bark Beetles Easily 


Bark beetles are one of the 220 different varieties of beetles found in the world. There are over 6000 species of these beetles that are part of the Scolytinae sub family. The Southern Pine and Mountain Pine Beetles are some of the most threatening species that plague coniferous forest trees in North America. Their counterparts in Europe are the Spruce Ips Bark beetles that are most threatening to trees.

Trees themselves are an important part of the ecological system because they provide shade to whomever is below them and they play their role in the mutually beneficial relationship that allows them to make their own food and for the rest of the people to take in the oxygen that is released as part of the process. The mountain pine beetle in particular is destroying a large number of trees in Colorado, South Dakota, Wyoming and Nebraska. Bark Beetles destroy these trees and can wreak havoc in a garden environment as well.

Here’s what you need to know about these beetles.

About Bark Beetles

Since 2002, 10 out of the 20 invasive bark beetles have been found in California and the remaining 10 are yet to be found. These beetles are 3-8 mm in length and occur in dark red, brown or black colors. The longest flight ever for a beetle was clocked in at 2 miles. Every pair in a colony of bark beetles mates after infestation and burrows to make a gallery where they lay their eggs. A female can lay around 75 eggs on an average.

They’re called so because they reproduce inside the bark of the trees, the inner bark of trees in particular. The word beetle itself is adapted from the old English word bitela, which literally translates to little biter. The species of tree that the beetles attack and where they attack these trees helps to identify them better. Take the example of the engraver beetle, which attacks large pine trees at the top. The red turpentine beetles attack the lower trunk of pine trees in particular.

Spruce Beetles are known only to infest spruce trees, so if there are other types of trees like Hemlock, Aspen, Cottonwood or birch trees present in the surroundings, they aren’t at risk of attack by the Spruce Beetles though they might be at risk of other types of beetle infestations. They attack by tunneling under these trees’ barks.

As for the physical characteristics of beetles that are used for their identification, their forewings are tough and strong. These act as sheaths for the softer wings underneath which the beetles use during flight as well as protecting their soft abdominal parts. They’re known to attack trees that are already weak from disease, smog, drought or any other visible damage. These trees are known to release some volatile compounds (turpenes) whose scent can be picked up by these creatures. If there is an outbreak of these creatures, they’re also known to attack even the healthiest of trees. During breeding season the ration of male to female beetles is 1:60. This male is literally surrounded by 5 dozen females.

So what do you do if these beetles make their way to your garden and your home? Be careful of the type of beetle infesting your area before proceeding with the treatments.

How to get Rid of Bark Beetles

  1. Burn Them After Piling Them Together

If the area where these little rascals are present is localized, cut it off and pile the wood up and burn it so that they die along with the scraps of wood they are in.

  1. Boracare

This solution contains boric acid which has boron. Insects including beetles hate boron present in this form. When you apply this liquid, it will be absorbed into the wood to get rid of the beetles present under the bark when they eat the wood. The thickness of the liquid and dilution depends on the wood itself. You can order BoraCare online at Solutions Pest & Lawn.

  1. Introduce Birds and the Bees to the Beetles

Birds like the woodpeckers hunt and eat the beetles and so do parasitic wasps, but be sure to not let them over run your plantation as you would be faced with another problem after getting rid of one.

  1. Reduce the Concentration of Trees

When there are lesser trees, they won’t absorb more nutrients from the soil and neither will they stand a chance to be diseased with proper care. This leaves little incentive for beetles to take to these trees.

  1. Chemical Application

These will protect healthy trees and kill off the broods within the infested trees. These may be expensive but it is nothing when compared to the cost of saving the tree from destruction. Be sure to identify the beetle before you spray the chemicals in the area, and keep pets and children away. We recommend on the the conventional broad spectrum pesticides like ones which contain bifenthrin like Reclaim IT Insecticide or Bifen IT Insecticideor a permethrin based insecticide like Flex 10-10 Insecticide. These products are excellent because they not only take care of treehoppers, they can eliminate a large number of household pests. What you choose largely depends upon your budget as they are all effective products.

Preventing a Bark Beetle Infestation

Your pine trees can look beautiful but that beauty can be ruined by these pests. The bark beetle species known as pine beetles are most destructive and detrimental for these lovely trees. Be proactive in your approach if you feel that there might be an infestation. Keep your trees in good health. There are Western Southern and Mountain Pine beetles that can infest your trees and destroy them and affect the natural habitat of other animals as well.

The healthier the tree, the more the likelihood of keeping these pests out of the area. Come up with long term plant healthcare plans, involving keeping your trees well fertilized, watered, mulched and properly pruned, especially when they’re under tremendous stress as that’s when they’re most vulnerable. Treat your trees nicely and they’ll return the favor. Apply pesticides and insecticides periodically, especially when you expect an infestation and they’ll be safe from bark beetles.  


We hope this guide helps you in your quest to eliminate bark beetles. For more expert advice, contact us by phone at 800-479-6583, by email at askapro@solutionsstores.com or via live chat on our website!


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