Bark Beetle Control: How to Get Rid of Bark Beetles (2024)

This page is an expert guide on getting rid of Bark Beetle infestations using the products and methods suggested by our experienced pest control specialists. Follow this guide and use the recommended products and we guarantee you will be successful in eliminating Bark Beetles from your property.

Trees are an important part of the ecological system, because they provide shade and help to produce oxygen. They are also nice to have for the aesthetics of a landscape or yard. Unfortunately, there are many threats in the environment that are harmful to trees, such as a tree-boring pest known as Bark Beetles.

Bark Beetles (also known as Pine Beetles) are insects that are known to infest trees in large numbers, reproducing in the inner bark of trees and causing significant damage to both weakened and healthy trees. There are over 600 species of Bark Beetles found in the United States and their populations have been rising higher and higher as years pass.

What is most concerning about Bark Beetles is that they are becoming a year-round problem because of their increasing ability to be able to survive winters and damaging trees undergoing stress from changing seasons.

In this guide, we will show you what you can do to get rid of Bark Beetles and what cultural practices you can use to keep Bark Beetles from targeting the trees in your yard.


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It's important to first identify and make sure you are dealing with Bark Beetles and not some other pest. Misidentification leads to using the wrong treatment method, which in turn leads to a waste of money and time. Here are some identifying facts on Bark Beetles:

  • Bark Beetles get their name because they reproduce inside the bark of the trees. The word beetle itself is adapted from the old English word bitela, which literally translates to "litter biter"
  • The species of tree that the beetles attack and where they attack these trees helps to identify them better. Take the example of the Engraver Beetle, which attacks the top portion large pine trees. The Red Turpentine Beetles attack the lower trunk of pine trees in particular.
  • Bark Beetles are typically dark red, black or brown in color, cylinder-shaped and have hard bodies.
  • They are very small, about the size of a rice grain. They have forewings are tough and act as sheaths for the softer wings underneath which the beetles use during flight as well as protecting their soft abdominal parts.
  • They also have very strong mouthparts which make it easy for them to tear into wood.
  • Bark Beetle larvae are a pasty white color and look like small grubs with a dark brown head.

Use the image and description above to properly identify Bark Beetles on your property. If you are not totally, sure, contact us and we will assist with proper identification.


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Once you have confirmed that the pest you are dealing with are Bark Beetles, you can then proceed with an inspection. During this phase, you will pinpoint the areas where Bark Beetles are most active so you know where to focus your treatment applications.

Where To Look

Focus your inspection on the trees on your property. Pay particularly close attention to tree trunks and tree branches. In some cases, the damage may be so severe that the tree cannot be salvaged and you may have to remove the tree. If possible, inspect the trees near your property as well.

What To Look For

Look for signs of tree damage or live Bark Beetles. The area where the tree is damaged, the species of tree and the type of damage can help you to determine which Bark Beetle infestation you have, as mentioned in the identification section.

Look for entry holes in the trunks and branches, and check for galleries of different sizes and shapes (wishbone-shaped tunnels, J-shaped tunnels, etc.) You should also keep an eye out for sawdust-like remnants called frass. If possible, you can remove a portion of your tree's bark to observe galleries created by this pest.


If you have confirmed that Bark Beetles are infesting your tree you have a few options which depend on circ*mstances. For the most part, weakened trees that are heavily infested by Bark Beetles may not be saved and chemical control will have little effect on it.

If you have a live, healthy tree and have just started noticing bark beetle damage and wish to try and salvage your tree, you will need to conduct a treatment using professional products. We recommend first using a contact insecticide such as Sylo Insecticide to the tree trunk, limbs, and bark to prevent any adult Bark Beetles from penetrating the tree bark. This is a pyrethroid that delivers a quick knockdown of insects on trees.

Step 1: Sylo Insecticide Treatment

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Sylo Insecticide is a synthetic long-lasting residual pyrethroid insecticide that contains the active ingredient Cypermethrin and serves as a good contact insecticide that can prevent infestation of Bark Beetles to infested trees and shrubs. Timing is crucial as it is best to treat trees early on in an infestation to attack the newly-hatched tree borer larvae before they begin tunneling into the bark.

Measure the square footage of the treatment area to help you determine how much Sylo Insecticide you need to mix. In a sprayer, apply a 0.1% emulsion of Sylo Insecticide. To gain a 0.1% emulsion, mix half of 1 oz. of Sylo with 1 gallon of water. Once you have calculated and mixed the appropriate amount of Sylo Insecticide in a sprayer, shake the sprayer well and you're ready to treat.

Spray over the bark, trunks, twigs, branches, and areas where bark beetles are expected to invade on a fan spray setting but not to the point of runoff. If you see any holes or cavities in the wood, spray them directly via pin stream setting. You want to saturate the openings and contact as many insects as possible.


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After treatment has completed, Bark Beetles should no longer be infesting your tree but you will need to make sure they do not reinfest. Here are some practices we suggest:

  • Regular pruning of infected branches as this will remove any unappealing foliage from your property and stops the spread of bark beetles within the branches.
  • Insecticides are best used preventatively before Bark Beetles penetrate the bark and lay eggs. Apply Sylo as a preventative treatment to the bark of your trees every few months is recommended if you are worried about Bark Beetles attacking your tree and want to protect it.
  • If the damage of the tree is quite extensive the only way to take care of the infestation is to remove the whole tree from its roots and replace it with new one. Replanting a new one and protecting it with preventive treatments of Sylo Insecticide. These dead and dying trees will need to burned or grinded into wood chips or mulch as these trees contain the next generation of bark beetles.
  • If near-by trees are casting too much shade the target tree will not receive enough sunlight to grow properly. Simply trim back overgrown branches from other trees.
  • Deeply water along the tree roots outer canopy. Do not water near the trunk as the moisture may build-up and attract pests or fungi.
  • Apply the appropriate Fertilizer for your tree as this will stimulate growth while fighting off pest and disease activity.

Key Takeaways

What Are Bark Beetles?

  • Bark Beetles (also known as Pine Beetles) are a destructive group of pests known to damage wood as adults or lay eggs under the bark of trees where destructive larvae hatch and cause destruction

How To Get Rid of Bark Beetles Easily

  • Use a contact insecticide treatment with Sylo Insecticide, which can help to eliminate Bark Beetles from your tree.

Preventing Bark Beetle Reinfestation

  • Practice maintenance of your trees with pruning and mulching to prevent reinfestation. In some cases when there is significant damage, it may be wiser to remove the tree and replace with a new tree. Spray quarterly with the Sylo Insecticide as preventative measures to protect your new tree. Continue to address any stress factors that may be affecting your trees. Whether it is shade or water, your trees will need to stay healthy in order to fight off pest damage.

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Questions and Answers

  1. Q:I live on a wooded lot, finding and treating trees is not going to work. My real problem is the beetles are pestering us while sitting on the patio. They are swarming in the evenings and making it very unpleasant. What can we do? I’ve asked around and many of my friends have the same issue.


Bark Beetle Control: How to Get Rid of Bark Beetles (2024)


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