Beetle outbreak killing Georgia pine trees

Beetle outbreak killing pine trees

FLOYD COUNTY, Ga. — Warm temperatures and the drought have led to a major outbreak of a type of beetle that is killing pine trees.

Channel 2’s Carol Sbarge went to Rome to talk to a specialist with the Georgia Forestry Commission to find out how to tell if trees in your area are in trouble.

The Georgia Forestry Commission is warning people the Ips beetles are killing pine trees and are expected to continue to do so in the spring and summer.

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Forest Health Specialist Lynn Womack said it’s been such a warm winter that they are seeing active beetle spots in North Georgia, which is unusual in February.


Womack said the beetles usually die off in the fall and winter. Lack of water from the drought has stressed trees, making them ripe for beetles to attack. Womack said typically, in a year where the trees are healthy, they have the ability to fend off the attacks.

Womack said the beetles work from the top down. She told Sbarge you should be on the lookout for signs of dead limbs. Womack said the limbs go from red to yellow to brown, and added that there are other signs of beetles.

Tiny holes in your tree can indicate evidence of where the beetles came out. The beetles kill the trees, in part, by injecting a fungus into them.

The Forestry Commission said landowners with large areas of pine trees can use chemicals to protect the trees. That’s not so affordable for the average homeowner.

You can water or remove trees that show damage. The Forestry Commission predicts north and central Georgia will be most impacted this year.