Southern Pine Beetle Infestation

The Southern Pine Beetle is a bark beetle that infests pine trees. The beetle is the size of a grain of rice and red brown in color. They are generally found in southern states and have always been the most destructive pests of southern pine forests.  In recent years they have been found up the Eastern Seaboard possibly sue to the warming of extreme winter temperatures.

In October 2014 infested trees were found in Suffolk County, Long Island cause by the Southern Pine Beetle (SPB). The infestation is now widespread throughout Suffolk County. One way to tell if a tree has been infested by the tell-tale sap the tree pushes out in a futile effort to kill the pest and the reddish brown needles of a dead tree.  Other signs of infestation can be determined by examination of the trees bark. Look for

  • Pitch tubes, or popcorn-shaped clumps of resin on the exterior of the bark
  • Shotgun patterned holes on the exterior of the bark
  • S-shaped tunnels under the bark

On October 2017, East Hampton Town declared a state of emergency when it was discovered that more than 7,000 trees were infected with the Southern Pine Beetle.  The East Hampton Press reported that after 840 acres of land were inspected for the beetle infestation 8,255 trees on 297 acres of land were cut to curb the infestation of the beetles.

This pest is a serious threat to our Pitch Pine forests mostly in the Long Island Pine Barrens. This huge environmental catastrophe is responsible for the death of thousands of Pine trees over the past three years.   This destruction impacts our islands Pine forests resources, mainly water quality and wildlife habitat. 

The Department of Environmental Conservation recommends that if you have un-infested trees, you may choose to protect them with preventive insecticides. Also, they recommend contacting a certified arborist for a consultation. Nature‚Äôs Guardian has a certified arborist on staff and will be happy to provide a consultation.