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Bark Beetles

Bark Beetles- tree pests in California

Photos courtesy of Larry Costello PhD - University of California


Over 600 beetles in the family Scolytidae are commonly referred to as bark beetles. Nearly all bark beetles are black or brown, hard-shelled and between 1/8 and 1/3 inches long. Species determination is not necessary due to similarities in their life cycles. Adult bark beetles bore through the bark to the cambium layer of suitable host trees. Females excavate a tunnel between the bark and wood, along which they lay their eggs. When they hatch, they burrow away from the egg tunnel and feed on the live bark tissue and outer cell layers of wood (xylem).


The “shot hole” appearance of the bark in infested trees indicates beetles have matured, chewed exit holes and flown off to find new breeding sites. Once bark beetles are established in a tree, they emit pheromones, which attract other beetles to the same tree. Bark beetles usually attack trees that are weakened or dying due to other stress factors such as drought, disease, smog, mechanical injury, etc. They are also attracted to recently cut wood.

Arborwell Tree Services Wellness Approach
Species commonly affected: Pine and Oaks

Once a tree is infected, trees almost never recover and usually die rapidly. Control efforts at this point are futile. Healthy, vigorous, well-maintained trees have a stronger chance of resisting beetles and other disease and insects. Arborwell recommends protective trunk applications to repel beetles throughout the growing season in addition to fertilization and proper watering.

Contact Us

To speak with an Arborwell Wellness Specialist, please call 888-969-8733. Our team of certified arborists are ready to help with all your arboricultural needs.

Pruning & Removals are not part of the Wellness programs.

Download a PDF about Bark Beetles

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