What’s Wrong With My Tree? Black Turpentine Beetle

The black turpentine beetle is the largest native pine bark beetle

Black turpentine beetle ranges from New Hampshire and Maine, south to Florida, and west to Missouri, Arkansas, and eastern Texas. They’re relatively easy to identify and distinguish from other beetles due to their large size, dark color, and round abdomen. They lay their eggs in the bottom 1-2 meters of the tree’s trunk and the roots in large oviposition galleries.

Signs and symptoms of black turpentine beetle

pest prevention
Image credit: Gerald J. Lenhard, Louisiana State University, Bugwood.org

The host trees of black turpentine beetle include all species of southern pines. The beetle’s presence can be seen in healthy and stressed trees and typically isn’t anything to worry about unless there is a large colony.

Signs of black turpentine beetle include:

  • Pinkish-white, reddish-brown, or purplish-gray pitch tubes on the lower bole of the tree.
  • Reddish-brown boring dust.
  • Large vertical or fan-shaped galleries in the inner bark.
  • Discoloration of the tree crown.

Treating for black turpentine beetle

Keeping your trees healthy and maintained at home and by a professional ISA-certified arborist is the best way to control black turpentine beetles. Your attending arborist will inspect your trees and may recommend a bark spray application in the spring if needed. A professional should remove dead or dying pines from your property, and stumps should be ground down.

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