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Northern Plains Regional Reports

Pest Watch: Pine Shoot Beetle

This insect could prove fatal to your pine trees

The pine shoot beetle burrows inside new shoots and kills them from the inside out. Photo: J.E. Appleby, USFWS

Gardeners are on the front lines when it comes to managing disease and pest issues in the landscape, so we must always be aware of potential threats in order to mitigate damage and keep our plants, gardens, and regions healthy.

Originally hailing from Europe, the pine shoot beetle (Tomicus piniperda [Linnaeus]) appears black or brown with a cylindrical shape and measures about 1/8-inch long. It was discovered in the United States at a Christmas tree farm in Ohio in 1992. Since then, these beetles have radiated outward and have been found in 20 states throughout the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, Northeast, Southeast, and here in the Northern Plains.

Shoots often need to be opened up in order to find the beetles. Photo: Ken Hammond, USDA ARS

As their name implies, pine shoot beetles feed on pine trees (Pinus spp. and cvs., Zones 2–10). The adult beetle attacks new growth by boring into the stem…

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