10 Apr 2024

Forestry sector to keep vigilant over Ips typographus

Scottish Forestry is urging the forest industries to be their extra pair of eyes and familiarise themselves with symptoms of the eight toothed spruce bark beetle (Ips typographus).

The call for vigilance comes as Spring arrives and in case any beetles emerge due to the warmer temperatures.

Adult beetles seek shelter over the winter in conifer stumps, fallen trees and leaf litter, but become more active as the season changes.

Scottish Forestry is keen to ensure all woodland managers, land owners, processors and tree nurseries become very familiar with the symptoms caused by the beetle.

Stressed spruce trees, possibly from drought or other conditions, or those damaged from windblow, are the most susceptible to the beetle.

Cameron Macintyre, Tree Health Planning and Contingency Manager with Scottish Forestry said:

“We’re surveying for Ips typographus and other damaging pests and diseases but the more eyes there are on the ground looking for the beetles, the quicker we can find and stop them from establishing.

“We’re asking everyone to be vigilant and submit suspicious symptoms to TreeAlert. Any reports that could be Ips typographus are immediately prioritised by Forest Research and sent to our tree health officers for further investigation.

“All you need to do is take photographs of the trees, the symptoms, and record the date and location of your finding.”

The eight toothed spruce bark beetle is a serious pest of spruce trees, including both Norway and Sitka spruces.

Adult beetles were intercepted for the first time in Scotland in September 2023 by traps situated in woodlands surrounding the port of Grangemouth. No indication of a wider environment breeding population was found by follow-up surveys.

While Scotland's climate is not as suitable for Ips typographus as central Europe, which has sustained enormous timber losses, our climate is similar to parts of Scandinavia where there are established populations. 

Breeding populations have been found in the south-east of England and are subject to extensive eradication measures. These beetles are most likely to have arrived from cross-channel dispersal, whilst evidence gathered to date suggests the Ips typographus beetles found in Scotland arrived with imported material.

Traps with pheromone lures to attract beetles are deployed at ports, wood processors and in forest locations as part of the GB-wide monitoring network, run in partnership with Scottish Forestry, Forestry Commission England, National Resources Wales, Defra and Forest Research.