Guidance

Larger eight-toothed European spruce bark beetle (Ips typographus)

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

The larger eight-toothed European spruce bark beetle (Ips typographus) is considered a serious pest on spruce in Europe and has recently been found in the wider environment in England as part of routine plant health surveillance activity.

The beetle is mainly a secondary pest, preferring stressed or weakened trees. However, under the right environmental conditions, beetle numbers can increase enough to result in attacks on living trees.

If left uncontrolled, the beetle, in association with pathogenic fungi (particularly the blue stain fungus Endoconidiophora polonica), has the potential to cause significant damage to Britain’s spruce-based forestry and timber industries.

Photograph of an eight-toothed spruce bark beetle on some timber

Eight-toothed European spruce bark beetle (Ips typographus)

Symptoms

Adult beetles are dormant and hibernate over winter under the bark of trees, logs and leaf litter. They then re-emerge in spring, when the temperature rises above 20°C.

The beetle prefers stressed or weakened trees e.g. windblown, damaged and recently felled spruce trees, where, under the right environmental conditions, beetle numbers can increase. Inspection of trees in this category should be a priority.

Also look for standing individual and groups of dead trees. This arises when the beetles ‘mass attack’ trees, overcoming the trees’ usual defences by a combination of large numbers and blue stain fungus carried by adult beetles. Under the right environmental conditions, this phase can lead to extensive tree deaths.

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.

Please note, the larger eight-toothed spruce bark beetle (Ips typographus) can often be confused with the great spruce bark beetle (Dendroctonus micans). A symptom guide Field symptoms guide Ips typographus (PDF, 844KB, 3 pages) is available to download from this page to assist with identification.

Reporting sightings

Please remain vigilant for signs of Ips typographus. If you think you have spotted signs of this beetle anywhere in Great Britain then please tell us using our Tree Alert form.

Report suspected sightings in Northern Ireland using Treecheck, the all-Ireland tree pest reporting tool.

Plant Health (Ips typographus) (England) Order 2019

To protect the country against this pest, the Plant Health (Ips typographus) (England) Order 2019 came into force on 16 January 2019. The Order allows the Forestry Commission to demarcate areas around confirmed outbreak sites, and imposes movement restrictions on conifer material capable of spreading the pest using a Notice.

A revised Notice (PDF, 395KB, 5 pages) of the Order came into force on 29 January 2019. This applies to the movement of spruce (Picea) material with bark (for example, wood with bark, isolated bark, live trees over 3 metres) that has originated within the demarcated area.

Provision is made within the Order to enable plant health inspectors to authorise movements and processing of spruce material with bark from the demarcated area where this can be achieved without risking the spread of Ips typographus. Authorisations can be requested with the applications forms Application to receive and process Spruce V1 (PDF, 269KB, 1 page) and Authorisation to process Spruce V1 (PDF, 517KB, 4 pages).

The demarcated area covers parts of Kent and East Sussex and the boundaries of the are shown in the Ips typographus notice map and within the Notice (PDF, 395KB, 5 pages), which also contains a description of the boundary. This Notice replaces the Notice originally issued on 17 January 2019.

This Q&A document offers further information (PDF, 272KB, 7 pages)

Contingency plan

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

Further information

You can find more-detailed information about this pest on the Forest Research website.

Published 1 February 2018
Last updated 22 June 2020 + show all updates
  1. The Ips typographus Q&A has been updated.

  2. Details of how to report suspected sightings of the larger eight-toothed European spruce bark beetle (Ips typographus) in Northern Ireland have been added to this page.

  3. Attached new application and authorisation forms

  4. A revised Notice of the Order has been added to this page.

  5. Page updates and addition of an identification guide.

  6. Additional information including field symptoms guide.

  7. First published.