To treat infestations of southern pine beetle in East Texas, Texas A&M Forest Service most often recommends the harvest and utilization of infested trees. If done properly, a prompt salvage operation has many benefits:

    1. Economic losses from beetle infestations are minimized by utilizing dead trees.
    2. Infestation expansion (spot growth) is disrupted by the removal of active trees and a buffer strip of adjacent, uninvested trees.
    3. A portion of the beetle population is removed from the forest.

    To adequately control southern pine beetle spots by salvage, Texas A&M Forest Service recommends the guidelines outlined below:

     + How to Apply
    1. Identify all currently infested (active) trees within the spot (the most recently attacked trees in an exapanding infestation still will have green foliage as well as pitch tubes and/or boring dust in bark crevices).
    2. With tree-marking paint or flagging, mark the salvage boundaries to include a horseshoe-shaped buffer of green, uninfested trees around the active head of the spot (Fig. 1).

      Illustration of damage caused by Pine Beetle - Figure 1

      For small- to medium-sized spots (<100 infested trees), the buffer should be as wide as the average height of the trees in the spot (40 to 60 feet). A wider buffer will be needed for rapidly expanding spots that have more than 100 currently infested trees. The buffer is required to guarantee disruption of spot growth and dispersion of beetle populations from the infested area.
    3. Salvage should begin as soon as possible after the harvesting boundaries are marked. Cut and remove trees within the buffer first to prevent further spot growth. Continue harvesting towards the spot origin until only those dead trees that have deteriorated beyond use remain standing (Fig. 2).

      Illustration of salvage control method - Figure 2
    4. Do not deck infested logs against standing green trees since odors from the logs may draw beetles to adjacent green trees. Ideally, infested trees should be removed from the woods within a few days of felling to prevent the escape of emerging beetles.
    5. Avoid scraping or damaging standing green trees along skid trails. Open wounds attract certain bark beetles.
    6. After two weeks check the treated spot for re-infestations (breakouts) around the outer edge of the spot, along skid trails or around log decking areas. Re-treat all breakouts.

    The buffer strip of green trees must be included to assure effective control, particularly for spots treated during warm months. If salvage operations are delayed, active spots may have to be marked again prior to harvesting to account for additional spot growth.

     + When to Apply
    Salvage may be applied at any time of year when ground conditions permit. Prompt treatment after detection is recommended. Any delay will mean additional timber loss from spot growth and proliferation. When salvage of a spot is not feasible, or must be postponed for prolonged periods, the Texas A&M Forest Service recommends that active infestations be treated by the cut-and-leave method.
     + Cost of Application
    The cost of salvage application will vary with the total volume and size of trees to be harvested, their current market value, the type and efficiency of equipment used, access and other factors.

    Texas A&M Forest Service recommends, after completing the above steps 1 through 5, that additional uninfested trees be selectively thinned from the owners’ adjacent timber, if needed, to complete the final load or to offset the cost of the salvage operation.
     + Glossary of Terms
    Active Head of Spot: Portion of the spot containing beetles in the process of attacking green trees.

    Active Tree: Pine tree containing attacking adults or bark beetle broods (eggs, larvae, pupae, or new adult beetles).

    Buffer: Group of green, uninfested pines adjacent to the most recently infested trees in a spot. Both the buffer and the active trees are felled to assure disruption of spot growth and dispersion of beetle populations.

    Southern Pine Beetle (SPB): Dendroctonus frontalis (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), a bark beetle that can be identified by the S-shaped trails it makes beneath the bark of attacked trees.

    Spot: Group of dead or dying pine trees infested by the southern pine beetle.

    Spot Breakout: Infestation of green trees on the outer edge of a spot following a control treatment.

    Spot Growth: Natural expansion of untreated spots as additional green trees on the outer edge of a spot become infested.

    Spot Proliferation: One or more new SPB spots initiated by beetles escaping from controlled and/or uncontrolled spots, located at some distance from the immediate edge of the initial spot.
     + Contact
    For more information, contact:

    Texas A&M Forest Service Forest Health
    P.O. Box 310
    Lufkin, Texas, 75902-0310