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Pine Colaspis Beetle Common Problem This Time of Year

July 3, 2014

In recent weeks, the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) has received phone calls pertaining to the “browning” of pine trees. LDAF forestry officials say if landowners who have pine trees growing on their property notice the needles turning a reddish brown, it may not be anything of concern.

“Before you remove the tree, take a close look at the foliage or pine needles. It may very well be temporary damage caused by the Pine Colaspis beetle (Colaspis pini Barber). They are found throughout the Southeast and are common along the gulf states,” said LDAF Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry Mike Strain, D.V.M.

LDAF forestry officials say they are not considered a serious pest, but can produce a browning effect when feeding in large numbers. It is very common to see foliage damage, from the Pine Colaspis beetle, from June through August.

Emerging adult beetles will feed along the edges of the needles, causing temporary damage. When high concentrations of the beetles are feeding, the host trees’ foliage will take on a “red to brown” color. Trees that are attacked rarely die and suffer very little, if any, growth loss. Attacked trees will usually “green up” by the end of the summer.

Visual Indicators of Pine Colaspis Infestations

1. Pines needles begin to turn “brown or red” during late-spring/early summer months.
2. Pine needles have “sawlike” edges as a result of the beetles feeding on the foliage.
3. Identification of Beetles: 1/4 inch long, elongated-oval, rusty yellow or brown beetle with green reflections.

Under forest conditions, no control measures are recommended. Residential trees may be sprayed with an approved insecticide to prevent the unsightly damage, if desired.

Contact the LDAF Office of Forestry at (225) 925- 4500 if there are questions or if assistance is needed regarding this or any other forestry matters.