Preventing the Spread of Pine Wilt


Pine sawyer beetles, Monochamus caroliensis, which emerge from dead trees and transport the pinewood nematode to healthy trees, perpetuate the pine wilt disease cycle. Trees killed by pine wilt disease are reservoirs for pinewood nematodes. The larvae of pine sawyer beetles overwinter as mature borer larvae. Currently, they are preparing to pupate within their pupal chambers. After a beetle emerges from its pupa, it remains in the pupal chamber briefly while its exoskeleton hardens. Pupae and beetles are inactive — an ideal time for dispersal-stage pinewood nematode larvae to invade the transport host.

To prevent this, destroy diseased trees by burning them by mid-May. Beetles begin to emerge in April and continue for about a month. Timely burning means destroying trees before current season beetles emerge. It is best to burn early, preferably by April 1 to get this chore out of the way. With the weather warming-up, other pressing needs may delay burning until beetles have emerged and it is too late. Do not neglect this yearly chore, especially in pine wilt disease-free areas of the state.

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