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IEFC - Forest pests and diseases - Consult - Abi-I-1
Common Forest Pests and Diseases in Europe - Abi-I-1

Silver Fir Bark Beetle

Pityokteines curvidens (Germar) (Coleoptera, Scolytidae)

Host tree

  • Pityokteines curvidens lives almost exclusively on fir (Abies), only very rarely observed on Norway spruce.

Identification

  • The body is cylindrical, shiny, brown, covered with dense hair. Elytrae are with rows of punctures.
  • Males of this bark beetle are 2.7-3.2 mm long, and females are 2.0-2.6 long. The elytral declivity is with 3 teeth and 2 granules. The first tooth on the elytral declivity of males is pointed upward; two other teeth are hook-like and bended towards each other.
  • Females have small teeth. Hair on pronotum is only slightly longer than on frons. Eggs are small, whitish. The larva is up to 8 mm long.

Damage

  • Pityokteines curvidens is a species of great economic importance in fir plantations. Infestations have been reported all over Europe, where fir occurs.

Biology

  • One or two generations a year according to altitude and climatic conditions.
  • In April adults infest trees of different ages, usually starting from the upper part of the stem.
  • In July, the new adults emerge, going into the second generation.
  • The larvae of the second generation grow in the second half of the summer and then overwinter.
  • At higher altitudes or with less favorable climate, the majority of the population makes only one generation per year.

Risk factors

  • Stressed trees are more prone to attacks. Severe defoliations, prolonged drought, unharvested infested trees and excessive tree density are the main risk factors for Pityokteines curvidens infestations.

Distribution

  • Pityokteines curvidens occurs throughout Europe and Anatolia, widespread in the whole range of the common fir distribution. Also introduced in Japan.

Pest management

Monitoring

  • Specific synthetic pheromones can be used in traps for population monitoring.

Preventive measurements

  • Preventive measurements, required especially in fir plantations, mainly concern the reduction of excessive tree densities and the harvesting of trees infested or susceptible to colonization.

Curative control

  • Control requires the immediate harvesting of the attacked trees.
  • Trap logs are generally useless because insects tend to infest the upper part of standing trees and hardly infest trunks lying on the ground.
  • No measures of biological control of P. curvidens are known. Chemical control by synthetic pyrethroids should be allowed only on timber for commercial trade.

Climate change

  • Outbreaks are likely to increase, especially in South Europe because of the increased summer droughts stressing fir and providing more favourable conditions for this secondary bark beetle.

Illustrations :


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