Pests & Diseases

Eight-toothed spruce bark beetle (Ips typographus)

The eight-toothed spruce bark beetle (Ips typographus) also known as the European spruce bark beetle, large spruce bark beetle and larger eight-toothed spruce bark beetle.

It is the most serious and destructive pest of spruce species in its Eurasian range.

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.

For more information, check out the following links:


DAFM Don't Risk It Campaign

Green Spruce Aphid

Green spruce aphid (Elatobium abietinum) is an insect that infests spruce trees. Unlike most aphids, the green spruce aphid is active and causes damage to spruce trees (Picea species) over the winter months. This aphid differs from most other aphids by being active from autumn to spring, instead of in the spring and summer. This pest is particularly damaging in mild winters, which enable it to breed more rapidly.

For more information, check out the following links:

Ticks & Lyme Disease

While not technically a forest pest, ticks are more than just a nuisance and can cause serious illness. Lyme disease or Lyme Borelliosis was originally thought to be something you would catch overseas. In recent years Lyme disease awareness has grown and cases of the disease have become more prevalent with cases now being diagnosed in Ireland as well as abroad.

Lyme disease initially presents as a flu-like illness sometimes with a classic 'target' type rash - a large patch on the skin with a red border and pale centre. People may experience dizziness, joint pain and fatigue but this is not always the case. If diagnosed early and treated with antibiotics, Lyme generally causes no problems. However, if it is missed or misdiagnosed, it can develop into secondary or tertiary Lyme disease - a condition that can cause chronic fatigue and other problems. It is important that people are aware of the risk of Lyme disease and take precautions to prevent tick bites or deal with them properly.

There are a number of sources for information on Lyme Disease:

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