Bark beetles killing Wellington’s pine tree population, officials say



A type of pine bark beetle, called the Ips engraver beetle, lives in the inner bark of pine trees, where it breeds and feeds on its tissue, said Brian Hopper, a landscape and forestry operations supervisor for Wellington.

Once the beetles fully colonize, they create fungus that ultimately kills the tree, Hopper said. In just a few days after the beetles attack, a pine tree will show rapid changes in the color of its needles, from a dark green to brown.

“Unfortunately, people usually don’t notice their tree is being attacked until it is too late. Once the tree is so severely infested that all its needles have turned brown, then its chance of survival is slim,” Hopper said.

But how did the beetles get to Wellington and why are they attacking pine trees?

“They are native beetles to the area and are attracted to stressed pine trees,” said Mark Torok, a state forester for Palm Beach County. “When the pine trees are stressed, they release a pheromone that attracts beetles to its bark.”

Torok said the majority of pine trees in Wellington were already there before homes and urban areas were built. Irrigation, construction, and weekly lawn maintenance stresses trees, making them vulnerable to the beetles.

The decrease in the pine tree population could also threaten wildlife in Wellington, Torok said. Pines trees provide numerous animal species with a source of food and shelter.

To help prevent pine trees from being attacked, city officials advise residents to provide spacing of about 15 to 20 feet between trees, maintain proper soil nutrients and provide deep watering during extended drought periods.


Reader Comments


Next Up in News

Inspector general: Former West Palm spokesman violated rules
Inspector general: Former West Palm spokesman violated rules
UPDATE, 10:30 a.m.: In a statement, West Palm Beach’s former communications director, Elliot Cohen, said the inspector general’s report deals with...
Police: Ex-girlfriend stole $10 million in art from Lantana home
Police: Ex-girlfriend stole $10 million in art from Lantana home
Two people were arrested last week after investigators say they stole more than $10 million worth of art from a Lantana home, according to city...
Trayvon Martin's parents to release book about son
Trayvon Martin's parents to release book about son
The parents of slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin will release a book in January, nearly five years after their son was fatally shot by George...
Video: Marlins’ Jose Fernandez elated to hear he was having a daughter
Video: Marlins’ Jose Fernandez elated to hear he was having a daughter
In August, Jose Fernandez nervously cut into a cake with his smiling, pregnant Maria Arias nearby. The cake was pink.
Fox News host Brit Hume: Hillary Clinton didn't look 'attractive' at debate
Fox News host Brit Hume: Hillary Clinton didn't look 'attractive' at debate
The internet was not happy with comments made by Fox News host Brit Hume after the first presidential debate on Monday.
More Stories

You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myPalmBeachPost.com.

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of free premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

X

Welcome to myPalmBeachPost.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myPalmBeachPost.com.