What is an IPS Beetle?
IPS Beetles are most commonly referred to as engraver beetles. These particular beetles attack pine and spruce trees. IPS Beetles are small red, brown, and black beetles about 1/8 inch-3/8 inch long. This particular insect has a cavity in the back portion of their body that has 3-6 pairs of tooth like spines which distinguishes them from other bark beetles.
What are the signs of IPS Beetles?
As the beetles enter the trees they will create tunnels as they infest select parts of the tree. This will in turn discolor and create dieback in the tree. You may also identify yellow or brown saw dust that may accumulate on the bark or at the base of the tree. These signs may be localized to a single branch or the top of the tree. They differ from the Mountain Pine Beetle in the fact that after an infestation of the IPS Beetle the whole tree may not be affected and lead to tree mortality. However over time if the tree is filled with later generations the tree may face death. Identifying small round holes in the bark means that the beetle has exited and moved to another part of the tree or neighboring trees. Adults will overwinter under that bark and will attack the stressed trees in the spring.
To prevent an IPS beetle attack we suggest maintaining and improving tree health. This includes providing optimal growing conditions by providing good supplemental water and fertility as well as preventing any root injuries caused by mechanical damage, compaction, or disease. Insecticides can also be applied in a preventative manner. This type of application is done by soaking the bark of the tree trunks and larger branches. This application is timing specific and needs to be done before adult beetle infestation. Early spring is the best time to preventively spray for IPS Beetles.