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Texas Invasive Species Institute

Texas Invasive Species Institute

Common pine shoot beetle

Tomicus piniperda

Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Family: Curculionidae

Tomicus piniperda

Photographer: Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources - Forestry Source: Bugwood.org Copyright: CC 3.0 US

Tomicus piniperda

Photographer: Milan Zubrik, Forest Research Institute – Slovakia Source: Bugwood.org Copyright: CC BY-NC 3.0


The common pine shoot beetle, like several bark beetles, is part of the weevil family (Curculionidae). The adults are brown to shiny black and ¼ inch long, and the body is cylindrical.  The larvae are typical beetle larvae, and are legless, up to ¼ inch long, and have a white body with a brown head.

Signs of infestation can be: damaged shoots drooping, turning yellow and eventually turning brown and falling off the tree. Also, in the damaged shoots there will be a round entrance hole, tunneled out by the adults.

Ecological Threat

There are over 20 species of pine trees native to the United States, providing an ample amount of host trees for this beetle. The larvae feed on the phloem which is the vascular tissue in plants that circulates sugars throughout. Tomicus piniperda is one of the most destructive shoot-feeding species in northern Europe, where it can cause losses of 20-45% in growth and volume in pine trees and their production. Usually the larvae damage the wood ruining it for production. The adults cause the most destruction and can stunt the growth of trees, but intense infestations can kill the trees.


Tomicus piniperda breeds in dead or dying trees. Adults tunnel out a breeding gallery in the spring where they lay their eggs. Throughout their year-long life span they are able to reproduce multiple times. After the larvae hatch from the eggs are chew through the phloem for several months, and then emerge as adults in late summer. New adults will feed on the youngest shoots (new or 1 year old shoots) to reach maturation. Each adult will feed on between 1 and 6 shoots. This is the most destructive stage of the life cycle and stunts the growth of the trees.


First found in Ohio in 1991 in a Christmas tree plantation. Probably via imported wood packing material.  It has then spread to 11 other states and Ontario and Quebec in Canada.

Native Origin

Eurasia and northern Africa

Current Location

U.S. Habitat: Pine forests across the United States are vulnerable.

U.S. Present: CT, IA, IL, IN, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, VA, VT, WI and WV


Looks like other beetles in the Tomicus genus including Tomicus minor (Lesser pine shoot beetle). Also, they look like Dendroctonus species, but they are differentiated by the number of antennomeres that make up the funicle.


Like many invasive species, importation and transportation of goods can bring them along. As a precautionary measure in 1992, USDA implemented Quarantine areas surrounding Ohio. Now the quarantine areas are established in the 11 states that this beetle is present in. This quarantine requires the inspection of cut Christmas trees, pine nursery stock, and pine, logs, stumps and lumber with bark attached before these regulated articles can move out of quarantined areas. Limiting the transportation of pine trees and goods, helps limit the ability of this beetle to travel to new states.

Preventative measures are necessary to keep this beetle from expanding its distribution.


Haack, R.A., and T.M. Poland. 2001. Evolving management strategies for a recently discovered exotic forest pest: the pine shoot beetle, Tomicus piniperda (Coleoptera) Biological Invasions 3:307-322.

Hui Y. 1991. On the bionomy of Tomicus piniperda (L.) (Col., Scolytidae) in the Kunming region of China. Journal of Applied Entomology 112: 366-369.

Poland, T.M., de Groot, P., Burke, S., Wakarchuk, D., Haack, R.A., Nott, R. and Scarr, T. 2003. Development of an improved attractive lure for the pine shoot beetle, Tomicus piniperda (Coleoptera: Scolytinae), Agricultural and Forest Entomology 5(4): 293–300.

Vasconcelos, T., Nazare, N., Branco, M., Kerdelhue, C., Sauvard, D., & Lieutier, F. (2003). Host Preference of Tomicus piniperda and Tomicus destruens for Three Pine Species. Proceedings: JUFRO Kanazava 2003 “Forest Insect Population Dynamics and Host Influences" 19–2.

Internet Sources






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