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How to Prevent Bark Beetles

April 26, 2017

Insects inhabiting your land can certainly be beneficial to the environment. But sometimes they can also be detrimental to your investment. The economic impact they can have on your land can not only affect the market value of your property, but also the cost required to prevent outbreaks.

CC Image Courtesy of U.S. Department of Agriculture
CC Image Courtesy of U.S. Department of Agriculture

According to the USDA Forest Service, there are 600 different species of bark beetles in the United States. While these insects are mostly found in U.S. forests, various species are native to only certain areas of the country. For example, the native species of Georgia include the IPS engraver beetle, the southern pine beetle, and the black turpentine beetle.

Bark beetles typically target stressed trees that have been weakened by things such as overcrowding, injury, drought, disease, or old age. They are the forests’ organic way of reducing and controlling the tree and herbaceous populations. The beetles reproduce in and feed off the inside of a tree’s bark, which cuts off the steady flow of vital nutrients and leads to a tree’s death.

Trees that have been attacked by bark beetles release pitch (or sap) as a natural defense. A white pitch tube means the tree was successful in fighting off the attack. A reddish-brown pitch tube usually means the tree has been attacked. Other indicators include small holes in the bark, reddish-brown debris at the base of the tree and a color fade of the tree’s needles from green to brown.

Bark beetle damage on tree bark (CC Image Courtesy of Dustin Blakey)
Bark beetle damage on tree bark (CC Image Courtesy of Dustin Blakey)

Although there is no real solution to eradicate bark beetles, don’t be alarmed. By creating and implementing a long-term forest management plan, you can protect the timber on your property and greatly reduce the likelihood of an outbreak.

A few good practices for maintaining a healthy forest and preventing outbreaks include thinning, prescribed burns, and pruning. Thinning your forest promotes growth by giving the trees more space to “breathe.” There are also many benefits to the practice of prescribed burning. This process significantly lowers the risk of wildfires and gets rid of unwanted undergrowth that prevents water from getting to the trees.

Always make sure to follow best management practices in your state and adhere to all state and federal regulations when protecting your property to avoid facing fines and/or penalties.

And if you have any questions, our National Land Realty registered agents can help you with the creation of a comprehensive plan to keep your valuable land investment in great shape.

About the Author
Cameron is a Land Professional for National Land Realty throughout the state of Georgia. He is a major producer in both the buying and selling sides of transactions for local and foreign clients in his service area. He has been in the land business since 2012 and is licensed in Georgia. Cameron specializes in the sale, acquisition, and assemblage of large agricultural, recreational, plantation, timberland, and conservation easement properties. Cameron also works closely with real estate developers of all industries and small acreage land owners to create markets for more niche properties. View Cameron's Listings and Reviews on