It’s not a pretty creature, but the young California fivespined Ips (CFI) larvae have found delicious edibles to chomp through in Washington State.
In 2010, this pine engraver beetle was recorded for the first time in Washington State. Native to California and Oregon, the CFI has damaged and killed numerous ponderosa pines in the Columbia River Gorge. It hits them when they’re down on their luck and stressed from drought, storms, or fire damage.
How it starts
The adult male bores its way through the bark of ponderosa pine, creating a mating chamber; usually three adult females come in for a visit (really to mate); each female then lays eggs along the sides of her own tunnel, making the Y-shaped gallery characteristic of CFI. The eggs hatch, and the babies start to nibble on the inner bark as they grow.
The outbreaks of CFI have been found on both banks of the Columbia River near White Salmon and have resulted in unusually high levels of mortality in ponderosa pine. DNR, Washington State University (WSU) Extension, the U.S. Forest Service, and several private landowners have cooperated to monitor the distribution and flight periods of CFI in Washington.
In 2010 and 2011, high numbers of CFI were collected along the Columbia River from White Salmon west to Vancouver. They also have found low numbers of CFI as far north as Lacey and Joint Base Lewis-McChord, west of the Cascades, and at Trout Lake, east of the Cascades.
You can learn more about this unsightly, tiny beetle to make sure your ponderosa pines stay healthy. Early monitoring results were used to produce the 2012 WSU Extension outreach publication: “Pest Watch: California Fivespined Ips – A Pine Engraver Beetle New to Washington State.”
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