Black spruce beetle

Insect type
  • Latin: Tetropium castaneum (Linnaeus, 1758)
  • English: Black spruce beetle
  • French: Callidie de l'épicéa
  • Synonym(s): Lsarthron castaneum Linnaeus , Tetropium luridum Gyllenhal


This species is not found in Canada


Bark, sapwood

Damage, symptoms and biology

The adults of this species do not do any feeding. They live an average of 3 weeks, but since they emerge from tree trunks at different times, they can be seen in flight from May to September, although their flight activity peaks in mid-summer. Upon emerging, the adults are ready to reproduce. After mating, the females lay their eggs either individually or in clusters underneath the bark scales. The larvae hatch around 10 to 14 days later and make their way under the bark and begin to feed on the actively growing cambium. While feeding, they create an extensive network of winding tunnels about 1-cm wide on the surface of the sapwood galleries. These galleries are filled with insect excrement, reddish sawdust and shredded wood. There are four larval instars, and the fourth instar constructs a horizontal tunnel about 2 to 5 cm deep and then bores a vertical segment about 3 to 4 cm long, forming a hook-like tunnel oriented towards the base of the tree. At the end of the gallery, the larvae build a pupal chamber in which they then pupate. The emergence holes made by the young adults are elliptically shaped and about 5 to 6 mm in size. The black spruce beetle typically has one generation per year but it may take 2 years to complete a generation, depending on the region and climatic conditions.

The black spruce beetle is recognized as a secondary pest, which means that it attacks weakened, downed or felled trees or trees that have been damaged by other insects or by fire. The pest can, however, attack and kill living trees, and it is known to cause major damage under conditions favourable to it. The construction of many pupal chambers and the intertwining galleries cause physiological damage to the tree as it grows, thereby impeding water and nutrient flow for tree growth and survival.  This damage also results in structural defects to wood, reducing its commercial value significantly.

Moreover, this insect is able to transport and inoculate blue stain fungi such as Grosmannia cucullata, Grosmannia penicillata, Grosmannia piceiperda, Leptographium procerum, Ophiostoma minus, Ophiostoma piceae and Ophiostoma tetropii.


In Europe, the black spruce beetle can cause significant economic loss, with a volume loss of about 33% to 44% in average-aged stands of some softwood species and lower losses in mature stands. When it does not kill living trees, the insect can damage recently felled trees. Sanitation cutting in coniferous stands, combined with the timely removal of the harvested wood, and de-barking are the most widely used methods to minimize black spruce beetle damage. Both Canada and the United States are concerned about the potential introduction of this insect because it would find climatic conditions and host tree species suitable for its establishment and spread.


[Anonymous]. [N.D.]. Tetropium castaneum  (L.). National Agricultural Pest Information System (NAPIS). Consulté en mars 2007.

Dobesberger, E.J. 2005. Tetropium castaneum. North American Forest Commission Exotic Forest Pest Information System (NAFC-ExFor). Consulté en mars 2007.

Dominik, J. 1972. Results of 20 years' observations on the damage caused by insects to some exotic species of conifers in the experimental forests of the Agricultural University at Rogow. Sylwan 116:11-18.

European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization (EPPO). [N.D.] Forest pests on the territories of the former USSR. O5/12249. 117 pp. Consulté en février 2011.

Jankowiak, R. and Kolarik, M. 2010. Diversity and pathogenicity of ophiostomatoid fungi associated with Tetropium species colonizing Picea abies in Poland. Folia Microbiol. 55:145-154.

Kolk, A.; Starzyk, J.R. 1996. Black spruce long-horn beetle - Tetropium castaneum (L.) and Brown spruce long-horn beetle - Tetropium fuscum Fabr., in Forest Pests of North America. Publication originale en polonais, traduction par la Dre Lidia Sukovata. Consulté en mars 2007.

LaBonte, J.R.; Mudge, A.D.; Johnson, K.J.R. 2005. Nonindigenous woodboring Coleoptera (Cerambycidae, Curculionidae: Scolytinae) new to Oregon and Washington, 1999-2002: consequences of the intracontinental movement of raw wood products and solid wood packing materials.  Proc. Entomol. Soc. Washington 107:554-564.

Novak, V.; Hrozinka, F.; Bohumil, S. 1976.  Atlas of Insects Harmful to Forest Trees. Elsevier, New York. 125 pp.

Schwenke, W. 1974.  Die Forstschädlinge Europas, Vol. 2.  Beetles. Paul Parey, Hamburg, Germany. 471 pp.

Wermelinger, B. 2004. Callidie de l'épicéa. Traduction par M. Dousse. Consulté en mars 2007.

Other resources

Information on host(s)

Main Host(s)

Norway spruce

Date modified: