If you haven’t already noticed we’re losing lots of pine trees around here.
The Ips avulsus beetle population traditionally explodes after hurricanes, lightening, hail, tornadoes and other storms. Stressed trees are more susceptible to infestation. So this summers drought weakened trees are especially prone to infestations.
The beetles are tiny, about the size of a tick. Ips beetles live about a month. They burrow under the bark and lay eggs in the tree. As they eat the tree they leave behind a bluestain fungus (Ceratocystis ips). It is this fungus that blocks water transport through the tree and kills it.
Infected trees can be seen by their dying pine needles, and a reddish brown dust appears around holes that the beetles drill into the trees.
Remove infected trees immediately. There aren’t any practical treatments for these beetles once trees are infected.