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Insects associated with fire-injured ponderosa pine

Date: August 24, 2016

Three insects evaluated for their potential post-fire impacts to ponderosa pines


Typical attack by wood borers to fire-injured ponderosa pine showing galleries and bark wood residue.
Typical attack by wood borers to fire-injured ponderosa pine showing galleries and bark wood residue.
Wildfires are common and often large-scale in western conifer forests. In addition, prescribed fires are used in many forest restoration and fuel management projects. Both types of fires can result in tree injury that attract a suite of insect species. Managers require tools to guide salvage efforts and insect population management after fires.

Key Findings

Forest Service scientists examined various aspects of the interaction between fire injury and subsequent insect infestations. Different types of fire injury and tree characteristics, such as the extent of bark damage, crown injury, and tree size, were correlated to infestations by different bark beetles and wood-boring insects. Some of the insects occurred jointly and were associated with both live and dead trees. 

  • The extent of tree bark injury was correlated with infestations by pine engraver beetles.
  • Bark injury tree diameter and crown damage were correlated with infestations of red turpentine beetles.
  • Tree size and crown damage were correlated with wood borer infestations.
  • All insect species examined occurred jointly in the same trees.
  • Pine engraver and wood borers beetles were more frequently found in dead trees while red turpentine beetles infested both live and dead trees.

Bole charring caused by a wildfire in a ponderosa pine forest. The extent of bole scorch is related to the probability of infestation by pine engraver beetles.
Bole charring caused by a wildfire in a ponderosa pine forest. The extent of bole scorch is related to the probability of infestation by pine engraver beetles.

Featured Publications

Negron, Jose ; McMillin, Joel ; Sieg, Carolyn H. ; Fowler, James F. ; Allen, Kurt K. ; Wadleigh, Linda L. ; Anhold, John A. ; Gibson, Ken E. , 2016


Forest Service Partners: 
Joel McMillin, Forest Health Protection
Kurt K. Allen, Forest Health Protection
Linda L. Wadleigh, Southwest Region
John Anhold, Forest Health Protection
External Partners: 
Ken E. Gibson, Forest Health Protection (retired)