Guidance

Eight-toothed European spruce bark beetle (Ips typographus)

Information about the eight-toothed European spruce bark beetle, including how to report sightings.

The eight-toothed European spruce bark beetle (Ips typographus) has recently been found in the wild in Great Britain. Live adults have occasionally been trapped during routine monitoring at sites such as mills and ports handling imported wood. It could cause significant damage to Britain’s Sitka spruce-based forestry and timber industries if it became established in British forests.

Photograph of an eight-toothed spruce bark beetle on some timber
Eight-toothed European spruce bark beetle (Ips typographus)

Symptoms

Adult females lay eggs along a linear gallery system from which larval galleries radiate, becoming wider as the larvae grow. The pattern shows in the bark and in the surface of the wood, and is unique to Ips typographus. This symptom should be looked for in any dead trees, whether standing or fallen.

The beetle is often associated with windblown, damaged and recently felled spruce trees, where it builds up numbers before moving on to attack adjacent live trees. Inspection of trees in this category should be a priority. Look also for individual or groups of dead trees. This arises when the beetles ‘mass attack’ trees, overcoming the trees’ usual defences by a combination of large numbers and a blue stain fungus carried by adults. This phase can lead to extensive tree deaths.

Reporting sightings

If you think you have spotted signs of this beetle then please tell us using our Tree Alert form.

Contingency plan

The Eight-toothed spruce bark beetle (Ips typographus) – contingency plan (PDF, 831KB, 21 pages) sets out the steps that will be taken if an outbreak of the eight-toothed European spruce bark beetle were discovered in Great Britain.

Published 1 February 2018