Home / True Weevils (Curculionidae) / Black Turpentine Beetle (Dendroctonus terebrans)

Black Turpentine Beetle (Dendroctonus terebrans)

Black turpentine beetle belonging to the snout beetle family is indigenous to the United States’ eastern parts. This beetle’s larvae and adult species are infamous as a major pest to the pine trees, particularly the stressed or injured ones, causing significant damage to them.

Black Turpentine Beetle

Scientific Classification

  • Family: Curculionidae
  • Genus: Dendroctonus
  • Scientific name: Dendroctonus terebrans

Physical Description and Identification

Adult

Size: 5 – 8 mm (0.19 – 0.31 inches)

Color: Their overall coloration can be either reddish-brown or black. 

Other Characteristic Features: The head remains convex at the front with clubbed antennae. Their pronotum also appears narrow in the front portion of their body than at the back. The abdominal tip of the black turpentine beetle is rounded.

Dendroctonus terebrans

Larva

The larvae grow to 12 mm (0.47 inches) long with a creamy-white body and reddish/orangish-brown head, devoid of legs. As the larvae reach maturity, they make pupal chambers within the bark and sapwood.

Black Turpentine Beetle Larvae

Pupa

The oval-shaped pupa has a waxy white body and is as much the size as the adult beetle. They take about 10 to 14 days to attain maturity.

Black Turpentine Beetle Pupa

Eggs

The females construct galleries incol3 the sapwood and lay eggs there in clusters. The small and round eggs take about 10 to 14 days to hatch into larvae that begin feeding gregariously right after emergence.

Quick Facts

Adult lifespan1 – 2 months
Duration of larval stage5 – 8 weeks
DistributionNew Hampshire in the northeastern United States to Florida in the southeastern belt, Texas in the south-central region, and Missouri in the western part
HabitatMostly in pine forests
Common PredatorsAdults of the Cleridae beetle family; and Rhizophagus grandis, a European predatory beetle
Seasons active fromMarch – October
Host PlantsSlash pine, loblolly pine, pitch pine, shortleaf pine
Diet of larvae and adults Phloem tissues and bark

Identifying the Damage Caused by Them

The beetles mainly target stressed or damaged trees and are attracted by the chemicals produced by the freshly cut stumps of pine. They bore into the trunks and make pitch tubes incol3 that appear white t the beginning changing to reddish and grayish red.

A hole could also occur at the pitch tube’s center, indicating that the tree has been subjected to the beetle’s attack. The symptoms become visible between three and six months, with the color of the foliage fading initially, resulting in the tree’s gradual weakening and finally death. The trees free from infestation would also not be spared since they could get prone to fungal infection since this beetle carries the blue stain fungus Leptographium terebrantis, spreading it from one tree to the other.

Of the various measures taken to keep a check on the black turpentine beetle’s population, removing decayed or damaged trees is one of them.

Black Turpentine Beetle Damage

Did You Know

  • The red turpentine beetle appears similar in color and appearance to the black turpentine beetle, though a little larger than the latter. It is also found in different parts of the United States and may even overlap the black turpentine beetle’s range.
Black Turpentine Beetle Image

Black turpentine beetle belonging to the snout beetle family is indigenous to the United States’ eastern parts. This beetle’s larvae and adult species are infamous as a major pest to the pine trees, particularly the stressed or injured ones, causing significant damage to them.

Black Turpentine Beetle

Physical Description and Identification

Adult

Size: 5 – 8 mm (0.19 – 0.31 inches)

Color: Their overall coloration can be either reddish-brown or black. 

Other Characteristic Features: The head remains convex at the front with clubbed antennae. Their pronotum also appears narrow in the front portion of their body than at the back. The abdominal tip of the black turpentine beetle is rounded.

Dendroctonus terebrans

Larva

The larvae grow to 12 mm (0.47 inches) long with a creamy-white body and reddish/orangish-brown head, devoid of legs. As the larvae reach maturity, they make pupal chambers within the bark and sapwood.

Black Turpentine Beetle Larvae

Pupa

The oval-shaped pupa has a waxy white body and is as much the size as the adult beetle. They take about 10 to 14 days to attain maturity.

Black Turpentine Beetle Pupa

Eggs

The females construct galleries incol3 the sapwood and lay eggs there in clusters. The small and round eggs take about 10 to 14 days to hatch into larvae that begin feeding gregariously right after emergence.

Quick Facts

Adult lifespan1 – 2 months
Duration of larval stage5 – 8 weeks
DistributionNew Hampshire in the northeastern United States to Florida in the southeastern belt, Texas in the south-central region, and Missouri in the western part
HabitatMostly in pine forests
Common PredatorsAdults of the Cleridae beetle family; and Rhizophagus grandis, a European predatory beetle
Seasons active fromMarch – October
Host PlantsSlash pine, loblolly pine, pitch pine, shortleaf pine
Diet of larvae and adults Phloem tissues and bark

Identifying the Damage Caused by Them

The beetles mainly target stressed or damaged trees and are attracted by the chemicals produced by the freshly cut stumps of pine. They bore into the trunks and make pitch tubes incol3 that appear white t the beginning changing to reddish and grayish red.

A hole could also occur at the pitch tube’s center, indicating that the tree has been subjected to the beetle’s attack. The symptoms become visible between three and six months, with the color of the foliage fading initially, resulting in the tree’s gradual weakening and finally death. The trees free from infestation would also not be spared since they could get prone to fungal infection since this beetle carries the blue stain fungus Leptographium terebrantis, spreading it from one tree to the other.

Of the various measures taken to keep a check on the black turpentine beetle’s population, removing decayed or damaged trees is one of them.

Black Turpentine Beetle Damage

Did You Know

  • The red turpentine beetle appears similar in color and appearance to the black turpentine beetle, though a little larger than the latter. It is also found in different parts of the United States and may even overlap the black turpentine beetle’s range.
Black Turpentine Beetle Image

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