The eight-toothed European spruce bark beetle (Ips typographus) is not believed to be present in the wild in Great Britain, but live adults have occasionally been trapped during routine monitoring at sites such as mills and ports handling imported wood. It could cause significant damage to Britain's Sitka spruce-based forestry and timber industries if it became established in British forests.
Adult females lay eggs along a linear gallery system from which larval galleries radiate, becoming wider as the larvae grow. The pattern shows in the bark and in the surface of the wood, and is unique to Ips typographus. This symptom should be looked for in any dead trees, whether standing or fallen.
The beetle is often associated with windblown, damaged and recently felled spruce trees, where it builds up numbers before moving on to attack adjacent live trees. Inspection of trees in this category should be a priority.
Look also for individual or groups of dead trees. This arises when the beetles "mass attack" trees, overcoming the trees' usual defences by a combination of large numbers and a blue stain fungus carried by adults. This phase can lead to extensive tree deaths.
If you think you have spotted signs of this beetle please tell us using our Tree Alert form.
Our contingency plan sets out the steps that will be taken in the event of an outbreak of 8-toothed European spruce bark beetle being discovered in forests in Great Britain.