Controlling & Preventing Hickory Bark Beetles.

What are hickory bark beetles?

Hickory bark beetles are a very deadly pest that affect all kinds of Hickory trees in the Athens, Ga. They are about 1/5 inch long with a reddish/brown hue covering its back with few hairs. The difference in male and female bark beetles is the spine. The male will have four spines and the female carries no spines.

What damages do they cause?

The hickory bark beetle is reportedly the most destructive of hickory trees alone. But beware! They have also been known to attack pecan, butternut, shagbark, bitternut & mockernut trees as well, though the hickory is the most common. The larvae cause the most damage, however, as they tunnel in the trunks and large branches. Adults are known to feed on the twigs in the crown, causing major crown die back as well as yellowing and dropping of leaves. Trees under stress from drought, damage, or any other environmental factors are the easiest targets. Below are a few major symptoms to look out for:

  • Yellowing/ dropping of leaves.

  • 3mm holes in the bark indicating an entrance of pests.

  • Woodpecker holes in bark

  • Engraved designs on the inside of the bark, once peeled back.

  • Crown die-back

Hickory bark beetles are known to carry diseases such as the dutch elm disease, which killed thousands of the american elm’s in the United States over the past few years. As they go from tree to tree, this disease is rapidly spread and very hard to manage and control once emerged. Another fungus associated with this beetle is called Ceratocystis smalleyi, which causes crown die-back and cankers.

How do I get rid of them?

Hickory bark beetles are very deadly and once they have spread, usually the tree will have to be removed all together to be sure none of the other trees become infected as well. However, they are not likely to attack a very healthy tree so the best measure of control to do here is more of a preventative such as pruning regularly, fertilization, regular watering schedules, etc. If you have concerns about bark beetles on your property, be sure to contact your local certified Arborist in Athens, Ga. to confirm diagnosis and begin a treatment plan for the area right away before they spread to other trees.

Questions or concerns? Contact an Arborist now!

North American Tree Service