Pine bark beetles killed my Monterey pine tree. What other trees can I plant, that the beetle will not kill?

Several bark beetles that attack pines are native to San Diego county.   Both forest and landscape trees may be attacked.  The western pine beetle and the engraver beetle (Ips species) typically attack pines weakened by old age, drought, root rot, and other conditions. 

Monterey pines (P. radiata), especially mature trees, are very susceptible when they are planted in San Diego county.  This tree is native to the central coast of California, which receives more rain and has cooler weather than we experience in southern California. Pine species like the Italian stone pine (P. pinea) and Aleppo pine (P. halepensis), which tolerate a drier, hotter climate, are better adapted in southern California.   Because of this they are less susceptible to attack by bark beetles when planted in good soil and given adequate irrigation.  No pine species is immune to attack and individual trees may be killed if they are under stress or when a large population of bark beetles is present.

Pine bark beetles do not attack other conifers including deodar cedar (Cedrus deodara) and incense cedar (Calocedrus decurrens).  They also do not attack cypress; however, they should not be planted in our area since they are susceptible to a deadly fungus disease cypress canker. Beefwood (Casuarinas species) a tree native to Australia is not a pine, but it has a similar appearance and is not susceptible to attack by pine bark beetles. Broadleaf evergreen and deciduous trees are also not attacked by pine bark beetles; however, other bark beetles like the eucalyptus long-horned borer may attack specific trees. 

For more information see UC Pest Note 7421 Bark Beetles,


By V. Lazaneo, Urban Horticulture Advisor, Emeritus, UC Cooperative Extension August 2012