Tree Pests: Pine Shoot Beetle
Currently, Christmas tree plantations and pine shelterbelts in the northern half of Missouri are at the greatest risk. However, in today’s mobile society, that is not to say that PSB will stay put. Any landowner with large plantings of pine need to stay vigilant. Here are some sound integrated pest management strategies for controlling PSB.
(Photo by Ken Hammond, USDA ARS.)
Chip or burn any culled pines to remove breeding sites. Cut pine stumps low to the ground or apply appropriate insecticide to prevent larval development in late March to April.
Scout for dead or bent shoots on the upper half of the tree; shoots might be yellow or red and will have small, round holes where beetles entered and exited. Clip off and open suspected shoots to examine for PSB. At the end of the season, evaluate results and update records.
There are no recommended biological controls available at this time.
Sanitation removal of infected trees is critical to controlling this pest. Cut stumps less than 4 inches from the ground when harvesting trees or in the spring before the new generation completes development. Chip or burn any unused or discarded trees or branches to minimize breeding site material.
Use trap logs to attract breeding parent beetles by systematically placing freshly cut pine trees or logs along the edges of the field in early spring. The trap logs must be chipped or burned after breeding occurs but before new adults emerge. Specific instructions and timetable are provided with the federal compliance program guidelines. See the USDA-APHIS/ PPQ website on pine shoot beetle for further details on regulation of this pest.
Apply appropriate insecticides to stumps to prevent larval development, which occurs in late March to April. For foliar treatments, the application of the appropriate insecticide needs to be timed with the emergence of the new generation of beetles to help manage the beetle population at 450 to 550. In Missouri, this usually occurs in late April to mid-May.