Southern Pine Beetle

About the Southern Pine Beetle (SPB)

The SPB is a bark beetle that infests pine trees by creating tunnels beneath the bark, disrupting nutrient flow. This species can kill a tree in just 2-4 months. It is very small and red-brown to black in color. The SPB is native to the southeastern U.S., but it has expanded due to warmer winter temperatures, resulting in outbreaks in locations like Long Island, NY.  It affects all types of pine trees, including pitch pine, white pine, and red pine.

DCR Forester Nicole Keleher talks about SPB in MA.
DCR Forester Nicole Keleher talks about SPB in MA.

How can I help?

While there have only been a few instances of SPB in Massachusetts so far, we should still look for signs of SPB to identify a potential outbreak as soon as possible. Signs include pitch tubes, clumps of resin, or patterned holes on the exterior of the bark of pine trees.

Since the SPB is so small, it is important to identify telltale signs on trees. Clumps of resin on pine bark will be easy to spot if there is an infestation of SPB.

The SPB is just 2-4 mm long.
The SPB is just 2-4 mm long.