Southern pine beetles becoming a problem in Mississippi

In Delta Farm Press

Mississippi is having a breakout of tiny beetles that use pheromones to gather sufficient numbers of reinforcements to overwhelm healthy trees.

Current Mississippi Forestry Commission flyovers indicate nearly 5,000 separate Southern pine bark beetle outbreaks across the state. Outbreaks can range from just a few trees to more than an acre of infested and dying pines.

Outbreaks are especially bad on national forestland, but homeowners and private landowners are also experiencing the problem.

Thomas Legiandenyi, Mississippi State University Extension Service agent in Oktibbeha County, Miss., said he has had at least 10 calls in the last year from owners of small tracts of land who are wondering what is wrong with their pine trees.

“My advice to homeowners is to frequently inspect your trees, not only for Southern pine beetles, but for any other problem on the trees,” Legiandenyi said. “If you have trees in your yard that have any disease, they become hazardous, as they could fall on your house, vehicles or even on people. Call a specialist when you see a problem.”

Homeowners typically have small acreage and a limited number of trees, making it easier to monitor tree health. However, owners of large tracts of land can have a more difficult time managing the health of their trees.

John Riggins, forest entomologist with the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, said Southern pine bark beetle populations can reach devastating numbers rapidly.

Read the rest of the story in Delta Farm Press.

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