Black spruce beetle
- 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
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.
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Information on host(s)
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