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Mountain Pine Beetle and Pitch Tube

The only defence a pine tree has against this pest is to "pitch it out" by pushing sap through the beetle's galleries to flush them out and drown them.

The mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) is native to British Columbia and the mountain regions of the western United States. While this beetle has invaded Alberta before, 2006 was the first year on record that it made it to northern Alberta.

Adult beetles are rather stout, black cylindrical beetles 4 to 7.5 mm long. Antennae are small, elbowed and have a flattened club.

Plants Affected

Primarily mature lodgepole pine; however, it attacks and kills all species of tree-form pines.

Although mature trees are preferred, during outbreaks all sizes of pine trees are at risk.

When the beetles are flying they can spread from infested pine trees, logs or firewood to your pine trees. They fly from July to September.





Mountain Pine Beetle

  • Small blobs of sap on the trunk of the tree (pitch tubes, shown at right) where the female beetle has entered the tree or 1/8th inch (3mm) holes in the trunk which may not ooze sap in weak trees. 
  •  Sawdust (frass) may collect in furrows in the bark or on the ground at the base of the tree. 
  •  Large sections of the bark removed by wood peckers exposing beetle larvae galleries.
  • Your pine tree dies completely between one season and the next. 


  • Check your pine trees weekly for evidence of beetle infestation from July 1st until October.
  • Purchase and install beetle repellent Verbenone pouches from local vendors before mid-June.  (Note: if beetle numbers are very high they ignore this pouch).
  •  Do not store infested pine wood past June of the year following the attack. 
  •  If you are a City of Grande Prairie resident, contact Parks Operations at (780) 830-5018 and a Parks employee will inspect your trees and advise you on control options.
Pine Tree Killed by Mountain Pine Beetle

 The City of Grande Prairie conducts a Red Tree Survey
each year to find and remove all City owned
pine trees killed by the mountain pine beetle before
the beetles emerge and infest neighbouring trees.

Have you lost trees to Mountain Pine Beetle?

You may qualify for a tree rebate coupon.

Last updated: 2/28/2017 9:08:50 AM