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Great Spruce Bark Beetle

The Great Spruce Bark Beetle (Dendroctonus micans) lives in forests across parts of Europe and has been in the UK for several decades where it has become a localised pest in parts of south western Britain, Wales and southern Scotland. It causes damage to spruce trees firstly when the female adult beetle tunnels her way into the spruce tree to lay her eggs and then when the larvae begin to eat their way through the inner woody layers. The affected tree will become weak and in some cases will die if they become completely girdled by the beetle.

There is some good news however. If the timber is harvested before the tree is dead, it should remain unaffected and be saleable. Also, there is some biological control available with a predator species called Rhizophagus grandis, which the Forestry Commission can release under licence at affected sites. AlthoughRhizophagus grandis will never eradicate Dendroctonus micans, it will reduce it in numbers by between 80-90% and hence reduce the amount of damage on spruce trees in an affected area.

The Forestry Commission has more information on managing the Great Spruce Bark Beetle available on their website.