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How to Treat a Bark Beetle Infestation

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An increase of Bark Beetle found in local trees. This tiny beetle is of great concern to anyone with Ponderosa Pine, Pinion Pine, and any other pine trees growing in their landscape. Bark Beetle bores into the trunk of trees and girdle the live tissues under the bark.

Bark Beetle, infestation, Ken Lain, The Mountain Gardener, Prescott, Watters Garden Center

Signs of Bark Beetle Problems

Early signs are needles fading from dark green to a pale green, then to straw followed by rusty red colors. Other outward signs are sap leaking from holes in the trunk or fine sawdust showing. The larvae stage of this beetle is the size of a grain of rice, and the beetles themselves are just one-quarter inch long.

Stressed Trees Attract More Beetles

There are many contributing factors to beetle infestation. When a pine tree is stressed, it lets off a turpentine odor that attracts more Bark Beetles. Tree stress is triggered by drought, damaged roots due to construction, or past lighting damage.

Keeping Trees Healthy

Prevention is the deep watering of your tree. It is recommended to water native trees through summer once each month to a depth of 24 inches. Combine this deep water with an annual feeding with Watters 7-4-4 “All Purpose Plant Food” to increase the health of your pine trees.

Plant Protector – is a liquid beetle killer administered at the base of trees that systemically taints the wood under the bark. After digestion of this treated wood, the beetle dies, and the tree heals itself. One treatment should be administered as a defense to further attacks and best applied each spring.

To prevent further damage, trees already infected should be sprayed with Watters “Cyonara Insect Spray”.

Remove Dead Trees

Dead trees should be cut down to reduce fire danger and the risk of a tree falling over. The brush should be chipped or hauled off, and the lumber cut and split. Thinning trees is an excellent long-term preventative measure.

This article was written by Ken Lain. He can be found throughout the week at Watters Garden Center, 1815 W. Iron Springs Rd in Prescott, or contacted through his website at or

Watters Garden Center, open house, The Mountain Gardener, Ken Lain, Lisa Watters-Lain,

Get more gardening tips from Watters Garden Center in the Mountain Gardener Column on Signals A

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