Home / True Weevils (Curculionidae) / Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae)

Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae)

The pine beetle is a member of the family of curculionidae beetles. It is a major pest to pine trees in North America, particularly the ponderosa pine, and has caused several outbreaks in the past.

Mountain Pine Beetle

Scientific Classification

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

Physical Description and Identification

Adult 

Size: 5mm

Color: It has a shiny black exoskeleton.

Other Characteristic Features: They are capable of flight and occasionally travel from one tree to another. However, they are not very good at it and generally don’t travel more than 300 ft.

Dendroctonus ponderosae

Larva

Larvae are yellowish-white, with dark heads. These grubs are legless and the size of a rice grain.

Mountain Pine Beetle Larva

Pupa

After the larvae fully mature, they begin to pupate.

Mountain Pine Beetle Pupa

Egg

Females lay eggs inside the bark of the host plant by tunneling inside and creating galleries.

Quick Facts

Lifespan1 year
DistributionNorth America including, central British Columbia, western North America, and Mexico.
HabitatMoist and dry forests
Seasons activeJuly-August
PredatorsWoodpeckers and other beetles
Host plantsPonderosa, lodgepole, and limber pines; Scott pines are also attacked on occasion.
Diet of adultsSame as the larvae
Mountain Pine Beetle Damage

Identifying the Damage Caused by Them

After an attack, infested trees will have red resin tubes jutting out of their bark. The color of the tube is important as only red tubes indicate an infestation as they are filled with dust released from the beetles boring. White tubes indicate that they attempted to enter the tree but failed to do so.

Mountain Pine Beetle Picture

Did You Know

  • While these beetles can help the overall population of trees in a forest by attacking old trees under humid conditions, outbreaks of these beetles have occurred. The deadliest of these outbreaks occurred in 1996 when pine beetles destroyed millions of acres of ponderosa and lodgepole pine in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. 
  • American entomologist Andrew Delmar Hopkins first described this species in 1902.
Images of Mountain Pine Beetle

Image Source: reddeeradvocate.com, i.pinimg.com, bugwoodcloud.org, invasivespeciescentre.ca

The pine beetle is a member of the family of curculionidae beetles. It is a major pest to pine trees in North America, particularly the ponderosa pine, and has caused several outbreaks in the past.

Mountain Pine Beetle

Physical Description and Identification

Adult 

Size: 5mm

Color: It has a shiny black exoskeleton.

Other Characteristic Features: They are capable of flight and occasionally travel from one tree to another. However, they are not very good at it and generally don’t travel more than 300 ft.

Dendroctonus ponderosae

Larva

Larvae are yellowish-white, with dark heads. These grubs are legless and the size of a rice grain.

Mountain Pine Beetle Larva

Pupa

After the larvae fully mature, they begin to pupate.

Mountain Pine Beetle Pupa

Egg

Females lay eggs inside the bark of the host plant by tunneling inside and creating galleries.

Quick Facts

Lifespan1 year
DistributionNorth America including, central British Columbia, western North America, and Mexico.
HabitatMoist and dry forests
Seasons activeJuly-August
PredatorsWoodpeckers and other beetles
Host plantsPonderosa, lodgepole, and limber pines; Scott pines are also attacked on occasion.
Diet of adultsSame as the larvae
Mountain Pine Beetle Damage

Identifying the Damage Caused by Them

After an attack, infested trees will have red resin tubes jutting out of their bark. The color of the tube is important as only red tubes indicate an infestation as they are filled with dust released from the beetles boring. White tubes indicate that they attempted to enter the tree but failed to do so.

Mountain Pine Beetle Picture

Did You Know

  • While these beetles can help the overall population of trees in a forest by attacking old trees under humid conditions, outbreaks of these beetles have occurred. The deadliest of these outbreaks occurred in 1996 when pine beetles destroyed millions of acres of ponderosa and lodgepole pine in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. 
  • American entomologist Andrew Delmar Hopkins first described this species in 1902.
Images of Mountain Pine Beetle

Image Source: reddeeradvocate.com, i.pinimg.com, bugwoodcloud.org, invasivespeciescentre.ca

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