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How to Spray Trees for the Pine Beetle

group of pine trees image by starush from

The scientific name for a pine beetle is Dendroctonus ponderosae. These black beetles, which only reach the size of a grain of rice, make their way through the bark of a pine tree and eat its inner layer. They also lay their eggs inside the tree. Once this happens, the tree will slowly begin to loose valuable nutrients and will eventually die if you do not spray it with a chemical insecticide.

Choose the trees in your yard that you want to save. Spraying the trees with a chemical insecticide is expensive. You may be able to save only five to 10 trees, so you want to choose the ones that have the most value on your property.

Wait until May or June to spray. You can also spray in July, but that is also when the pine beetles get ready to take flight, and you want to make sure you spray before this happens.

Purchase an insecticide that contains the ingredients permethrin or bifenthrin. Make sure the label also states that it will protect pine trees from pine beetle attacks. If it doesn't say this, it won't have the chemical that sticks the spray to the tree bark, thus rendering it ineffective.

Put on a pair of goggles and a mask. This will protect your eyes from any splashing of the chemicals and your airway from breathing in the chemicals. Then use gloves, long clothing and a pair of boots to protect your skin.

Prepare the spray exactly as directed on the label. Some sprays must be mixed with water before you begin.

Spray the pine tree beginning at the ground. Walk all the way around the tree, working your way up the tree. Make sure you get branches and any areas of bark that you see. Be liberal with your spray. You do not want to leave any areas unprotected.

Wait for the spray to dry. Then you can once again allow your children and pets to play outside. This should take about two hours.


Commercial licensed applicators can be hired to do this job for you.


Don't apply the spray if it is going to rain before the spray has a chance to dry.

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