Tomicus destruens

From Bugwoodwiki
Hexapoda (including Insecta)
T. destruens
Scientific Name
Tomicus destruens
(Wollaston, 1865)
Common Names
pine shoot beetle

Compiled by William Oldland, USFS


Balearic Islands : Mallorca I., Menorca I., and Pityuses Is. (= Ibiza I. + Formentera I.), Corsica , Croatia, Cyprus, France, Israel, Italy, Madeira Island, Portugal, Sicily : Incl. adjacent Italian islands (Lipari Is., Ustica I., Egadi Is., Pantelleria I., Pelagie Is.) , Spain, (Including the island of Mallorca), Turkey , Widespread in Eurasia, Widespread in the pine forests of the entire Mediterranean area, Occurs throughout the Mediterranean area. [1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10]

Host Range

Pinus brutia, Pinus canariensis, Pinus halepensis, Pinus pinaster, Pinus pinea, Pinus radiata, Pinus sylvestris. [1] [3][11] [5] [7][12] [8][9][13] [10] [14]

Identification and Biology

Adults are typical bark beetles of the subfamily Hylesininae. Elytral declivity is smooth and rounded and the head is visible when viewed from above. They are cylindrical in shape and dark brown in color. Length is 3.5-4.8 mm. Antennae are six-segmented and clubbed. In its typical form, Tomicus destruens has red-yellow antennal clubs. This character does not always hold true however. Recent studies in Austria have established that the antennal club of T. destruens has three hair rows between the second and third suture. The immature stages (eggs, larvae and pupae) lack sufficient characteristics for positive identification to species. Eggs are a pearly white color. Larvae are white, c-shaped, legless grubs with an amber colored head capsule. Mature larvae are about 4.5 mm long. The pupae are white, mummy-like and have some adult features including wings that are folded behind the abdomen. Adults and larval galleries have sufficient characteristics to permit entomologists to make field identifications at least to genus. However, examination of adults by a taxonomist with expertise in the family Scolytidae is required for positive identification. This is especially true because of the close morphological similarity between Tomicus destruens and T. piniperda. [5][14]

Tomicus destruens and T. piniperda have been considered as synonyms for a long time because they are morphologically similar. Unfortunately, because of the similarity of the two species, much of the biological information available on T. destruens is included with T. piniperda. Moreover, the natural ranges of the two species overlap in portions of the Mediterranean region. Some differences in larval morphology have been observed, although the main difference between the species resides in their reproductive period, i.e. early spring for T. piniperda and autumn-early winter for T. destruens. Therefore the latter species appears to be an ecological adaptation of the former to the warmer climatic conditions of the Mediterranean countries. [5] [14]

Tomicus destruens reportedly has two to three overlapping generations per year. However, since existing life history data does not account for adult maturation feeding between these generations, they may actually be multiple broods due to mated females attacking more than one tree. Threshold for adult flight is a maximum temperature of around 24°C. In central Italy, overwintering adults attack recently cut logs, broken branches and apparently healthy pines from February to May with peak activity occurring between April and May. Females initiate gallery construction and one male joins each female. After mating, females construct individual vertical egg galleries within the inner bark and outer sapwood. Egg galleries extend 10-25 cm in length. Females lay eggs singly in niches that are cut into both sides of the egg gallery. After hatching, larvae construct horizontal feeding galleries 4-9 cm in length. Pupation can occur in cells at the end of the larval galleries or in the bark. First generation adults emerge in early summer and by early July bore into tender pine shoots for maturation feeding. By August the infested shoots turn reddish. Oviposition by the brood adults takes place in August and usually ends by the onset of winter. In central Italy, all life stages can be found under the bark of infested trees during the winter. However in more northerly locations adults overwinter in the shoots or stumps of pines. [15] Tomicus destruens adults are relatively strong fliers. Dispersal studies with T. piniperda in the U.S have established that this insect can travel up to 2000 m in search of suitable host material. Adults are also subject to dispersal by air currents. [5]

Tomicus destruens attacks the entire bole of small diameter pines and confines its attacks to the thin barked portions of the upper crowns of larger pines causing top kill. Group kills of up to 30 trees are common during the early spring. [13]

Plant Response and Damage

In its natural range, Tomicus destruens is considered an important pest of pines and is capable of killing relatively vigorous trees during outbreaks. Maturation feeding can cause growth loss and reduce the market value of Christmas trees or landscape material because of unsightly dead shoots. If Tomicus destruens were to become an important, tree-killing pest of pines in North America, it could cause extensive tree mortality, resulting in significant ecological disruption and reduced biodiversity. [5]


Because of its cryptic nature and similarity in appearance to indigenous bark beetles, newly established populations could go undetected for long periods.[12]

Timing of sampling

Larvae, pupae and adults are present in the field during March and April. [5]

Monitoring Techniques

Interception of Tomicus piniperda at U.S. ports of entry between 1985 and 2000 indicate that of 155 interceptions, 70% occurred in dunnage, 29% in crating and 1% in pallets. No records of T. destruens interceptions exist in the U.S. However, given the difficulty of separating the two species, some interceptions from France, Italy and Spain could be T. destruens instead of T. piniperda. [5]

Adult feeding is characterized by the presence of dead shoots with yellow to reddish-brown foliage on host trees. Examination of these shoots should reveal tunnels and, possibly, adult beetles. Breeding attacks are characterized by reddish brown boring dust on the bark surface of trees and, if relatively vigorous trees are attacked, conspicuous pitch tubes on the bark surface. The gallery pattern underneath the bark consists of a single, vertical egg gallery 10-25 cm long and larval feeding galleries, perpendicular to the egg galleries 4-9 cm long. Breeding attacks are accompanied by blue stain Leptographium spp. In the xylem. The fungal species most frequently identified were Leptographium wingfieldii and L. lundbergii while L. guttulatum and L. serpens were also found. [1]

Management Approaches

Transport of wood products or wooden packing material, dunnage or pallets containing bark strips in international trade, unprocessed pine logs, fuelwood, tree trimmings and lumber containing bark strips can provide a means for introduction of immature stages (larvae and pupae) and adults. [5] [12]

Cultural Methods

In Europe, where harvested logs are often left in the forest for extended periods, bark beetle breeding attacks are prevented by debarking of logs, exposure of logs to solar radiation, or application of sprays of synthetic pyrethroid insecticides. [5]

Biological Control

Parasitoids: Eurytoma morio, Heydenia pretiosa, Metacolus unifasciatus, Roptrocerus xylophagorum. [3][16]

Chemical Control

Non-host compounds can block the positive responses of T. destruens to pine volatiles in the laboratory and in the field, which might have important implications in the control of this and other pine shoot beetles by excluding them from potential hosts or regulating attack densities to unsuitable levels for tree colonization.[14]


  1. Peverieri, G. S., Capretti, P., & Tiberi, R. (2006, February). Associations between Tomicus destruens and Leptographium spp. in Pinus pinea and P. pinaster stands in Tuscany, central Italy. Forest Pathology, 36(1), 14-20. Retrieved January 14, 2008, from 1.0 1.1 1.2
  2. CABI (2004). Crop Protection Compendium (2004 ed.) [CD]. Wallingford, UK: CAB International. Current online version at
  3. CABI (2007). Crop Protection Compendium (2007 ed.) [CD]. Wallingford, UK: CAB International. Current online version at 3.0 3.1 3.2
  4. European Nature Information System (EUNIS): Tomicus destruens. (n.d.). Copenhagen, Denmark: European Environment Agency. Retrieved January 15, 2008, from General information, geographical distribution, references, GBIF observations
  5. Ciesla, W. M. (2003, June 25). Exotic Forest Pest Information System for North America: Tomicus destruens. North American Forest Commission. Retrieved January 15, 2008, from Identity, risk rating summary, risk rating details, hosts, geographical distribution, biology, pest significance, detection and identification, means of movement and dispersal, bibliography, image 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 5.9
  6. Fauna Europaea: Tomicus destruens. (2007, April 19). Retrieved January 15, 2008, from Taxonomy, nomenclature and synonyms, taxonomic hierarchy, distribution, experts, references, other databases
  7. Vasconcelos, T., Nazaré, N., Branco, M., Kerdelhue, C., Sauvard, D., & Lieutier, F. (2003). Host Preference of Tomicus piniperda and Tomicus destruens for Three Pine Species. Proccedings: IUFRO Kanazawa 2003 "Forest Insect Population Dynamics and Host Influences", 19-21. Retrieved January 14, 2008, from 7.0 7.1
  8. Peverieri, G. S., Faggi, M., Marziali, L., & Tiberi, R. (2008). Life cycle of Tomicus destruens in a pine forest of central Italy. Bulletin of Insectology, 61(2), 337-342. Retrieved October 15, 2009, from 8.0 8.1
  9. Mendel, Z. (1987, June). Major pests of man-made forests in Israel: origin, biology, damage and control [Abstract]. Phytoparasitica, 15(2), 131-137. Retrieved October 15, 2009, from 9.0 9.1
  10. Kerdelhué, C., Roux-Morabito, G., Forichon, J., Chambon, J.-M., Robert, A., & Lieutier, F. (2002, March). Population genetic structure of Tomicus piniperda L. (Curculionidae: Scolytinae) on different pine species and validation of T. destruens (Woll.). Molecular Ecology, 11(3), 483-494. Retrieved January 14, 2008, from 10.0 10.1
  11. Kirkendall, L. R., Faccoli, M., & Ye, H. (2008, July 9). Description of the Yunnan shoot borer, Tomicus yunnanensis Kirkendall & Faccoli sp. n. (Curculionidae, Scolytinae), an unusually aggressive pine shoot beetle from southern China, with a key to the species of Tomicus. Zootaxa, (1819), 25-39. Retrieved October 15, 2009, from
  12. Pierce, C. M. F. (2008, April 28). Indiana's Most Unwanted Invasive Plant Pests: Tomicus destruens. Indiana Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey (CAPS) Program. Retrieved October 15, 2009, from 12.0 12.1 12.2
  13. NAPIS (n.d.). Pest Tracker: Tomicus destruens. National Agricultural Pest Information System. Retrieved October 15, 2009, from 13.0 13.1
  14. Guerrero, A., Feixas, J., Pajares, J., Wadhams, L. J., Pickett, J. A., & Woodcock, C. M. (1997, April). Semiochemically Induced Inhibition of Behaviour of Tomicus destruens (Woll.) (Coleoptera: Scolytidae). Naturwissenschaften, 84(4), 155-157. Retrieved January 14, 2008, from 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3
  15. Nanni, C., & Tiberi, R. (1997). Tomicus destruens (Wollaston): biology and behaviour in Central Italy. In Grégoire, J. C., Liebhold, A. M., Stephen, F. M., Day, K. R., & Salom, S. M. (Eds.), Proceedings: Integrating cultural tactics into the management of bark beetle and reforestation pests, 131-134. Retrieved January 15, 2008, from
  16. Noyes, J. S. (2007). Universal Chalcidoidea Database: Tomicus destruens. London: Natural History Museum. Retrieved January 15, 2008, from