Problems with Pine Colaspis Beetles

Barrett A. Courville  |  6/3/2011 6:24:55 PM

Every year at about this time of the year, I start getting calls from homeowners wanting to know what is wrong with their pine and cedar trees. They describe the injury and tell me that their trees are turning brown and dying. When you are out driving around, look at all those pine trees that appear to have been scorched by fire. These trees are generally not dying. They have been attacked by the pine colaspis beetle.

Pine colaspis beetles are found throughout the southeast but mainly along the Gulf Coast. They prefer slash pines but have been reported on other southern pines, bald cypress and ornamental spruce. They are generally not a serious forest pest. The feeding damage done by a large population of the pine colaspis beetles can cause a spectacular browning effect.

The pine colaspis adults are elongated to oval shaped, convex, and a rusty yellow to greenish color. These moderate sized beetles are about ¼ inch long. The full grown larvae are sparsely covered with short hairs. They do have small clusters of longer hairs that occur at the lower outer edges of each body segment.

The adult beetles will chew the edges of needles producing an irregular saw like edge that will turn brown. Later the entire needle will die causing the whole tree to become brown and have the scorched burnt color. Sometimes, only the tips of the needles will show signs of injury. Trees will not die and generally very little or no growth loss will occur. The attacks of the pine colaspis usually will occur in early summer. By late summer the trees appear green and healthy again.

The pine colaspis only have one generation per year. The eggs are laid on the undergrowth of trees during the summer. The larvae emerge, feed on the roots of grasses and other vegetation, and overwinter in this stage. Then in the spring the larvae pupate and the adults emerge in early summer.

Many times when the homeowner sees the damage on the trees the beetles have already moved out. If the homeowner can detect the beetles when they first move in, insecticides can be beneficial and help to prevent the unsightly damage. There are three insecticides that are labeled for control of the pine colaspis on pine trees. They are Malathion 57%EC, Carbaryl 50WP, and Orthene TTO/75S. Always read and follow label directions for use.

South Farm Rice Research Station Tour

A field day covering research in rice and soybean production has been scheduled for Wednesday, June 15, 2011, at the South Farm of the Rice Research Station south of Crowley. The field day will begin with registration at 8:30 a.m. It will conclude with lunch at noon.

Topics for presentation will include: Rice Disease Update; Rice Variety Development; Soybean Variety Trials; Rice Fertilization; Weed Control and Rice Insect Management. Faculty of the LSU AgCenter will make the presentations and be present to answer specific producer questions. All interested persons are invited to attend.

If you have questions regarding the South Farm RRS Field Day, please contact our office at 337-788-8821.

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