Bark Beetles

Bark beetles are the most destructive group of forest pests in the province and cause widespread mortality to mature forests. Bark beetles are small, cylindrical insects that attack and can kill trees by boring through the bark and mining the phloem (the layer between the bark and wood) of a tree.

Major Bark Beetle Species in B.C.

Although many bark beetle species exist in B.C., only four pose significant management concerns. Read more about the beetles and the management regimes designed for them:  

  • Mountain pine beetles — attack lodgepole pine, ponderosa pine and white pine trees from July to mid August. Mountain pine beetles have a one-year life cycle.
  • Spruce beetles — attack Englemann spruce, white spruce and Sitka spruce trees from late May to early July. These insects have a two-year life cycle but may also have a one year life cycle under ideal conditions.
  • Douglas-fir beetles — attack trees from April through June and have a one-year life cycle.
  • Western balsam bark beetles — attack mature true firs, particularly subalpine fir, throughout the host's range. This beetle differs from the other major bark beetle species by its damage being more chronic.

For help identifying bark beetle damage or other forest health damage, refer to the Field Guide to Forest Damage in B.C. (PDF, 6.5MB).

For guidance and strategies for controlling mountain pine beetles, spruce beetles and Douglas-fir beetles major bark beetle species, refer to the Bark beetle management guidebook (PDF).