Issue: December 25, 2004

Bark beetles from firewood?

Question:

A friend told me that my trees can get bark beetles from firewood. Is that true? Will they hurt my landscape trees?

Answer:

It is possible to import problems into your landscape if the firewood was cut recently. In addition to bark beetles, there may be other insects to consider. Most are of little concern except as a nuisance if they exit while the firewood is in your home. However, the bark beetle and the twig beetle may cause problems for other pine trees in your landscape.

Store the firewood in a sunny location as far away from your pine trees as possible. Cover this firewood with clear plastic and seal the edges of the plastic to the ground with rocks or soil. The clear plastic will confine the beetles, limiting their opportunities to infest surrounding trees. In the sunlight, the clear plastic will capture heat like a greenhouse. This heat can kill the larvae and beetles remaining in the firewood.

Trees other than pines, especially deciduous trees, are unlikely to be infested by these bark beetles and twig beetles, but it is a good practice to store the firewood under plastic anyway. This will keep it dry and protect neighbors' trees.

There may also be borers that attacked the firewood after the bark beetles and twig beetles. The borers are less likely to kill your landscape trees but can cause some problems. A greater concern to you will be emergence of these borers inside your house if you store firewood indoors. Bring the firewood indoors as needed, rather than storing it indoors for extended periods of time.


Send gardening questions to Southwest Yard and Garden, Attn: Dr. Marisa Thompson at desertblooms@nmsu.edu or at https://www.facebook.com/DesertBloomsNM/. Please include your county Extension Agent (aces.nmsu.edu/county) and your county of residence with your question!

For more gardening information, visit the NMSU Extension Horticulture page: desertblooms@nmsu.edu.

Marisa Y. Thompson, PhD, is the Extension Horticulture Specialist, in the Department of Extension Plant Sciences at the New Mexico State University Los Lunas Agricultural Science Center, office: 505-865-7340, ext. 113.