IPS Engraver Beetle and Mountain Beetle

Posted by & filed under Insect & Disease Control.

The above two species of insects attack and kill pine trees and other species of long needle evergreen that have been planted or are naturally grown in a landscape setting around homes.

The IPS beetle attacks spruce and pine trees of various sizes in the spring and has multiple flights throughout the season.  The mountain pine beetle attacks larger ponderosa pines in the latter part of july and august.  Both species of beetles are devastating to a tree that is not in the healthiest of condition.

The most susceptible trees are the ones that have had alterations made to its’ environment by construction within the last ten years.  For example, root damage, fill added over root system, natural water drainage rerouted, grass planted and maintained underneath the trees.  Trees affected with construction alterations are generally the most aesthetically valuable trees to landscape settings.  Drought, fire damage, and over population also weaken valuable trees.

To maintain valuable pine & spruce trees, the following steps should be taken:

  • Identify which trees have great aesthetic value to property
  • The valuable trees should be deeply watered once a month during the growing season, lawn watering will not suffice.
  • Your transplanted or small natural trees should be deep root fertilized in the fall or early spring until they reach maturity.  Fertilize mature trees every two or three years to maintain a healthy tree.  Lawn fertilizing is not adequate.
  • Valuable trees should be sprayed 2 times a year with long residual insecticide.  These residual sprays will protect the trees through the entire growing season.  Spraying for prevention of bark beetle or IPS beetle is imperative after any type of damage is done to a healthy tree (for example construction near the tree, car hits tree, storm damage, drought, etc.).  A deep root fertilizer will increase vigor of unhealthy or damaged trees.

If your trees have sustained a beetle attack:

  • When beetle damage is diagnosed during the summer or fall, the tree should be removed.
  • If you have remaining spruce or pines on property, these trees should be deeply watered (unless too much moisture due to poor drainage has weakened the tree) and deep root fertilized in the fall or early spring.
  • Trees need to have a preventive spray applied the next spring plus the proceeding standard prevention measures taken.

It will take 50 to 100 years to replace a mature spruce or ponderosa pine in your landscape.