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8/12/2015 - Important Information on Danger of Southern Pine Beetles to Pine Trees

The Town’s Tree Warden announced today that Fairfield residents should be aware that the southern pine beetle has come to Connecticut and can destroy pine trees.

Deemed one of the most economically destructive insects in the southeastern United States by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, an infestation of the Southern Pine Beetle has been found on a group of white pine trees in Westport. This is concerning as white pines are a big part of Connecticut’s state forest, and these destructive beetles can travel up to a half mile a day.

The southern pine beetle, or Dendroctonue frontalis, has begun to migrate North due to increased temperatures and lack of sustained cold temperatures during the winter months. These beetles have historically attacked short needle pines, but have begun to attack all pines (both long and short needle) as well as spruce and hemlock.

According to the US Forest Service, an outbreak of the beetle in the southeastern US from 1999-2002 resulted in over one billion dollars in loss for the timber industry. In 2014, The Department of Environmental Conservation identified 1,000 acres and 100 locations of infestation in Long Island Parks.

The Tree Warden is asking Fairfield residents to keep a look out for infestations in order to limit the impact to our town trees and landscape. The beetle itself is only about 1/8 of an inch in length. Early warning signs that a tree may be under attack include brownish orange boring dust and tiny pitch pellets that look like popcorn balls on the bark of the tree. Also be on the lookout for patterned holes on the bark.

As far as prevention of infestation, there is not much that can be done. Once the beetle has successfully colonized a tree there is no successful remedy and tree removal should be done as quickly as possible.

Below are additional resources that you can also contact:

Below are additional resources:

Photos:  The photo of the tree at the top right shows the “Popcorn Resin” symptom of the Southern Pine Beetle infestation. Photo Credit: CT Tree Protective Association.  The photo under the tree shows the Adult Southern Pine Beetle. Photo Credit: CT DEEP.