Brown Spruce Longhorned Beetle

Tetropium fuscum
Fabricius
Last updated by:

Faith Campbell

An infestation of the brown spruce longhorned beetle (also referred to as brown longhorned spruce beetle) had been found in and around a Halifax, Nova Scotia park, where it was killing red and white spruce (Picea rubens and P. glauca; Smith & Hurley, 2000). The pest is thought to have been imported around 12 years ago on solid wood packing material through the port of Halifax (Ontario’s Forests, 2000). The beetle is native to Europe and Asia, ranging from Lapland to Japan. In its native habitat, the pest primarily feeds on dead, felled, or stressed spruce species but will also attack pines (Pinus), fir (Abies), larch (Larix), and some hardwood species (Ontario’s Forests, 2000). Trees are girdled by larvae tunneling under the bark in the cambial layer. Healthy, non-stressed trees have been successfully attacked in Nova Scotia, suggesting that there may be less resistance in the North American red spruce than European species (Ontario’s Forests, 2000). North American spruce forests and perhaps other conifer-dominated forests are at risk from this serious pest. Canadian authorities have undertaken an eradication campaign in which they cut and chip up infested trees and proximal trees that could provide habitat (Cox 2000). While scientists researched the use of injectable chemical insecticides, in practice the Canadians have relied on destroying infested trees (Canadian Forestry Service, 2001).

USFS scientists and managers developed a conservation priority-setting framework for forest tree species at risk from pest & pathogens and other threats. The Project CAPTURE (Conservation Assessment and Prioritization of Forest Trees Under Risk of Extirpation) uses FIA data and expert opinion to group tree species under threat by non-native pests into vulnerability classes and specify appropriate management and conservation strategies. The scientists prioritized 419 tree species native to the North American continent. The analysis identified 15 taxonomic groups requiring the most immediate conservation intervention because of the tree species’ exposure to an extrinsic threat, their sensitivity to the threat, and their ability to adapt to it. Each of these 15 most vulnerable species, and several additional species, should be the focus of both a comprehensive gene conservation program and a genetic resistance screening and development effort.  Brown spruce longhorned beetle is not known to be a threat to any of these 15 most vulnerable species. 

Sources

Canadian Forest Service, Atlantic Forestry Centre. http://cfs.nrcan.gc.ca/index/brownsprucelonghornbeetle, accessed July 2004.

Cox, Kevin. June 24, 2000. Does this bug deserve to die? Globe and Mail.

Ontario’s Forests, Forest Health. 2000. Questions and answers about the brown spruce longhorned beetle – Tetropium fuscum (Fabr.). July 6, 2000. http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/mrn/forests/foresthealth/brown%20spruce/longhorn%5Fbeetle.htm.

Potter, K.M., Escanferla, M.E., Jetton, R.M., Man, G., Crane, B.S., Prioritizing the conservation needs of US tree spp: Evaluating vulnerability to forest insect and disease threats, Global Ecology and Conservation (2019), doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/

Smith, G., and J. E. Hurley. 2000. First North American record of the Palearctic species Tetropium fuscum (Fabricius) (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae). Coleopterists Bull. 54: 540.