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Dendroctonus terebrans

Black turpentine beetle adult. Photo: Steven Valley, Oregon Department of Agriculture, Bugwood.
Scientific Name: 
Dendroctonus terebrans
Common Name: 
Black Turpentine Beetle
Growing Degree Days (GDD's): 
None available at this time. Adults in mid-April to mid-May. (Source: Cornell Cooperative Extension.)
Host Plant(s) Common Name (Scientific Name): 
Black pine (Pinus thunbergiana)
Eastern white pine (Pinus strobus)
Japanese black pine (Pinus thunbergii)
Loblolly pine (Pinus taeda)
Pine (Pinus spp.)
Pitch pine (Pinus rigida)
Red spruce (Picea rubens)
Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris)
Insect Description: 

This is one of the largest native North American bark beetles. In the northern parts of its extensive range, the black turpentine beetle overwinters as an adult in the bark of its hosts. In the southern portions of its range, all life stages may be present throughout the year. Egg laying and feeding is usually kept to the basal 6 feet of the host plant. Mated pairs of adult beetles work to excavate galleries that may be 9.8 inches wide and 11.8 inches long. 100-200 eggs may be laid on one side of the gallery. Once hatched, larvae feed in groups on the inner bark. Fully grown larvae are legless, white, and almost 1/2 inch in length. Pupation occurs and adults eventually emerge from the bark to re-infest the same tree, or disperse to another susceptible host.

Damage to Host: 

Stumps and buttress roots of freshly cut trees are favored by this insect. Attacked trees may exhibit browning of needles and oozing of large masses of pitch. Masses of pitch (pitch tubes) may cover holes in the trunk and may be considerably larger than those of southern pine beetle. Pitch hardens and is first white but may turn red as it ages. Pitch is irregular in shape and up to 1.6 inches in diameter. Pitch tubes not visible when area below soil line is attacked. Healthy trees are usually not attacked, however it has been reported on occasion. Slash pine (Pinus elliottii) is also a host of the black turpentine beetle, but is found in the southeastern United States.


Check drought-stressed or otherwise stressed trees for needles turning light green to rust color. Check lower 6 feet, particularly the lower 18 inches of the trunk for 1.6 inch in diameter pitch tubes or small entrance holes from the adults. Reddish-brown boring dust may be found near the base of the tree as well.

Cultural Management: 

Keep up or improve tree vigor; beetle attracted to weakened trees (drought stress, soil compaction, damage by other insects, etc.). Remove any pruned out material from growing site and destroy (including stumps). Avoid root and bole damage to susceptible hosts in areas where black turpentine beetle is common. When planting, provide adequate spacing between trees to reduce future stress. 

Natural Enemies & Biological Control: 

Little is known about the specific natural enemies of the black turpentine beetle. The clerid beetle Thanasimus dubius and the trogositid beetle Temnochila virescens prey on many southern pine bark beetles and have been recorded attacking the brood of black turpentine beetles.

Chemical Management: 

Abamectin (NL)

Azadirachtin (NL) 

Bifenthrin (NL)

Chlorpyrifos (N)

Cypermethrin (NL)

Deltamethrin (L)

Emamectin benzoate (L)

Imidacloprid (L)

Neem oil (NL

Permethrin (L)

Zeta-cypermethrin (L)


Treat trunk to height of six feet when protecting high-value pines in the landscape.

Primarily a problem on pitch and Japanese black pines in coastal Massachusetts. This beetle is found from Florida to Maine, and uses all species of southern pines as hosts. Red spruce, Scots pine, and eastern white pine are also susceptible. Loblolly and slash pines are most seriously injured at times.

When used in nurseries, chlorpyrifos is for quarantine use only.

Make insecticide applications after bloom to protect pollinators. Applications at times of the day and temperatures when pollinators are less likely to be active can also reduce the risk of impacting their populations.

Note: Beginning July 1, 2022 neonicotinoid insecticides are classified as state restricted use for use on tree and shrub insect pests in Massachusetts. For more information, visit the MA Department of Agricultural Resources Pesticide Program. 

Read and follow all label instructions for safety and proper use. If this guide contradicts language on the label, follow the most up-to-date instructions on the product label. Always confirm that the site you wish to treat and the pest you wish to manage are on the label before using any pesticide. Read the full disclaimer. Active ingredients labeled "L" indicate some products containing the active ingredient are labeled for landscape uses on trees or shrubs. Active ingredients labeled "N" indicate some products containing the active ingredient are labeled for use in nurseries. Always confirm allowable uses on product labels. This active ingredient list is based on what was registered for use in Massachusetts at the time of publication. This information changes rapidly and may not be up to date. If you are viewing this information from another state, check with your local Extension Service and State Pesticide Program for local uses and regulations. Active ingredient lists were last updated: January 2024. To check current product registrations in Massachusetts, please visit: .