Resource Database

southern pine beetle
Dendroctonus frontalis Zimmermann, 1868

Dendroctonus frontalis is native to the Americas.
Life Cycle
The duration from egg to adult stages ranges from 26 to 54 days, depending upon the season. The beetles may have as few as three generations in Virginia and as many as seven generations in Texas. The beetles overwinter inside trees at all stages. In the spring when the dogwoods bloom, adults begin to fly. Females land on host trees, 6.6-29.5 ft. (2-9 m) off the ground, bore through the bark, and if successful, produce a pheromone that attracts males and females together to attack the tree en mass. Females begin building egg galleries. Mating takes place in the gallery followed by female egg laying. The eggs hatch into small larvae within 4 to 9 days. The larvae mine for a short distance before boring into the outer bark where they pupate. Adults can re-emerge from galleries and attack new trees. Often within an infestation fresh attacked trees serve as a center of attraction. Usually as the infestation grows, adjacent trees succumb to attack, resulting in a group of trees producing pheromones. Therefore, infestations often move in one or more directions.
Dendroctonus frontalis, the southern pine beetle (SPB) is one of the most destructive pests of pines in the southern United States, Mexico, and Central America. It occurs in the southern and southeastern United States, extending as far west as Arizona and as far south as Central America. The northern range extends from southern New Jersey and Pennsylvania, west to southern Missouri, south to east Texas, and east into Florida. Generally, this insect occurs wherever Shortleaf and Loblolly Pines are grown.
Control Efforts
Prevention is the best form of control. Forest stands should be thinned two to three times during the rotation. Thinned stands keep trees healthy and vigorous. Overmature stands are most susceptible to attack. Therefore, harvesting trees at rotation age should be followed. Integrated pest management may be achieved through any one or all of the following suppression techniques: rapid salvage and utilization of infested trees, piling and burning of infested materials, chemical control in high value resources, and cut-and-leave (May through October). Good forest management is the most effective method of preventing losses from the southern pine beetle.

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