Pine Shoot Beetle, Tomicus piniperda L.

Scientific Name: Tomicus piniperda
Common Name(s): Common Pine Shoot Beetle


Research Summary: Ben Sa.
You definitely don't want to find this beetle in your trees. Doing this research was a big task and very time consuming, but I learned a lot about the pine shoot beetle and the damage it can do. The research was hard but I was able to find many good resources, some told me the same thing as other resources. I was surprised to find out that the beetle is in Maine.     

Identifying Characteristics
  • Range from 3-5 mm in length.
  • Head and thorax are shiny black.
  • Wing covers are reddish-brown to black.

Taxonomy of Species
   Scientific Classification
 What That Classification Means
 Kingdom  Animalia  Is Eukaryotic, is many-celled, and can move.  Members eat plants and
 other animals and can be invertebrates or vertebrates.
 Phylum  Arthropoda  An arthropod is an animal with no backbone having an exoskeleton (it's
 skeleton is outside it's body), a segmented body, and jointed legs.
 Class  Hexapoda  It has six legs, one pair per thoracic segment.  It also has one pair of
 antennae in front of it's mouth.
 Order  Coleoptera  Coleoptera are insects, having the outer pair of wings being hard and
 horny. They have two pairs of jaws made for chewing. 
 Family  Curculionidae  Curculionidae can be true weevils or snout beetle, small beetles that have
 long snouts.
 Genus  Tomicus  Tomicus are insects that have at least one generation per year and feed
 on various conifers.
 Species  Piniperda  A bark beetle native to Europe that eats pine shoots and other tree

Similar species include:

Location and Movement
Origin/ Native Range
 Common pine shoot beetle is native to Europe.
 First found in Ohio in 1992 and has spread through the Great Lakes and northeast regions of the
 U.S. The beetle got to the U.S. on lumber ships from Europe.
Spread of Species
  • The species now moves through the U.S. on shipments of imported wood packing material.
  • The Pine Beetle has spread across the U.S. on trucks with loads of lumber and firewood, but it is rare to find the insect in these products because it is usually found in small branches not large branches and the trunk which is what lumber and firewood is made of.  
Where is it now invasive?  The species is now invasive in the northern Midwest and east U.S., the species has most affected
 Ohio, Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. 

Is this species in Maine?
 The species is in Maine but populations have not reached detectable levels. It was first recorded in
 Maine in 2000.
Where has it been identified?
 The beetle has been found in low numbers in scattered areas of Franklin and Oxford Counties.
How was this species introduced?
 The species was introduced to Maine on trucks with pine lumber. The pine shoot beetle is spread 
 easily when trees are harvested.   

Natural Environment
  • Pine shoot beetles live in the trunk and crown of a tree but attacks the shoots.
    • A pine shoot is simply a small branch or tree sprout.
    • A crown is just the area above the trunk where leaves and needles are found.
Climate and Temperature Range
 The species likes to live in slightly cold temperatures. It's preferred spring temperature is 50-55

Ecological Interactions  The beetle attacks the tree as a herbivore parasite eating the pine shoots making the tree smaller
 in height and diameter. 
 Preferred host is Scotch pine.
Consumed By
 There is an insect species native to Europe that consumes the pine shoot beetle called the
 European Red-Bellied Clerid. There other consumers but they are less common. One is called
 Hypophloeus longulus.

  • In beetle maturation periods one beetle can destroy up to six small branches.
  • Adult beetles bore into the bark under the main stem of the tree where they lay eggs. Larvae feed on the cambium which results in the death of the tree.
  • Many native animals are losing their home in trees because the beetle kills the trees.
 Human  The beetles could also disrupt ecosystems and food chain and leading to a loss of natural
 Economic  Tree harvesters, paper mills, and Christmas tree farms may be impacted by this invasive species.

Biological  There aren't many ways to get rid of the beetle but it may be effectively controlled by it's predator
 the European Red-Bellied Clerid. Bringing this insect to the U.S. would be a large risk though, the
 clerid could become invasive too! 
  • Traps such as setting out logs, letting the beetles live in it, then destroying the log have been attempted but it has not been the most effective method.
  • Removal of infested trees or pine materials such as stumps, branches, and logs.
  • Destruction of this material by chipping or burning.
Cultural Tree farmers are being educated about eco-friendly ways to control the pest. Details coming.
  • Cover sprays have been a useful method of control. The best time to spray would be in June. Cover sprays are pesticides sprayed on trees or other plants to get rid of insects. Sprays used for pine shoot beetle can be used to get rid of this species and the gypsy moth in one coat.

Interesting Facts
  • The beetle has been considered invasive for about 16 years.
  • It has done a lot of damage in Canada as well as the U.S.