Mediterranean Pine Engraver for Eastern Forests

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Research Issue

[photo:] Mediterranean pine engraver (Orthotomicus erosus), photo by A.G. GutierrezThe Mediterranean pine engraver is new to the United States. It was first detected here in 2004. This bark beetle has a history of causing extensive mortality in pines elsewhere in the world, but it is uncertain whether the beetle could feed on conifers in the northeastern United States. Information is needed to better predict and prevent the spread of the beetle to the rest of the country.

Our Research

We are studying the Mediterranean pine engraver in California where the beetle has established and in a quarantine laboratory operated by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture/Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station. Our research attempts to determine whether the bark beetle will recognize and attack conifers from the northeastern United States, to identify tree species that can support the reproduction of the beetle, to identify vulnerable geographic regions where the beetle is likely to establish, to determine how far the beetle can disperse, and to design strategies to detect infestations of the beetle with a new attractant.

Expected Outcomes

The goal of our research is to provide tools and strategies to efficiently detect small populations of the Mediterranean pine engraver and protect conifers from the effects of this insect.

Research Results

Walter, A.J.; Venette, R.C.; Kells, S.A. 2010. Acceptance and suitability of novel trees for Orthotomicus erosus, an exotic bark beetle in North America. Biological Invasions. 12: 1133-1144.

Walter, Abigail J.; Kells, Stephen A.; Venette, Robert C.; Seybold, Steven J. 2010. Boring in response to bark and phloem extracts from North American trees does not explain host acceptance behavior of Orthotomicus erosus (Coleoptera: Scolytidae). Environmental Entomology. 39(2): 661-669.

Walter, A. J.; Venette, R. C.; Kells, S. A.; Seybold, S. J. 2010. Walking response of the Mediterranean pine engraver, Orthotomicus erosus, to novel plant odors host in a laboratory olfactometer. J. Insect Behav. 23(4): 251-267

Liu, D.; Venette, R.C.; Flint, M.L.; Seybold, S.J. 2007. The flight response and dispersal potential of marked beetles of the Mediterranean pine engraver, Orthotomicus erosus (Coleoptera: Scolytidae), a new invasive in California. Annual meeting of the Entomological Society of America. December 9-12, 2007. San Diego. (abstract).

Walter, A.; Venette, R.C.; Kells, S.A. 2007. Potential host range of an invasive bark beetle, Orthotomicus erosus. Annual meeting of the Entomological Society of America. December 9-12, 2007. San Diego. (abstract)

Additional Related Forest Service Research Articles

Seybold, Steven. J; Penrose, Richard. L;Graves, Andrew. D. 2016. Invasive bark and ambrosia beetles in California Mediterranean forest ecosystems. In: Paine, T.D.; Lieutier, F., eds. Insects and diseases of Mediterranean forest systems. Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing: 583-662.

Seybold, S.J.; Downing, M. 2009. What risk do invasive bark beetles and woodborers pose to forests of the western U.S.?: A case study of the Mediterranean pine engraver, Orthotomicus erosus. In: Hayes, J.L.; Lundquist, J.E., comps 2009. The Western Bark Beetle Research Group: a unique collaboration with Forest Health Protection-proceedings of a symposium at the 2007 Society of American Foresters conference. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-784. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station: 111-134.

Research Participants

Principal Investigators

  • Robert C. Venette, US Forest Service - Northern Research Station, Research Biologist
  • Steven Seybold, US Forest Service - Pacific Southwest Research Station, Research Entomologist

Research Partners


  • Last modified: April 24, 2019