Elm: Bark beetles

categories: Elm Elm Insects Ornamentals

revision date: 2022-11-22 02:27

Bark beetle larval galleries.
Bark beetle larval galleries
Photo by: A.L. Antonelli


Elm bark beetles are about 1/8″ long and may be shiny brown or black. Adults, larvae, or pupae overwinter under bark. Adult beetles emerge in the spring (around May), leaving tiny “shotholes” in the bark. Adults feed on the young bark of elms, occasionally girdling and killing twigs. After feeding, the adult beetle lays eggs in galleries under the bark of branches, trunks, or in branch crotches of diseased or weakened trees. Adults will also lay eggs in recently cut wood when the bark is intact. The galleries are typically parallel to the grain of the wood, with the larvae making secondary galleries more or less perpendicular to the main gallery. Beetles emerging from trees infected with Dutch elm disease will infect the trees they attack.

Management Options

Use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for successful plant problem management.

Non-chemical Management

Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

  • Maintain plant health. Healthy plants are less susceptible to infestation. Select the proper plant for the site and provide proper cultural care.
  • Remove damaged or infested limbs in spring before adult beetles emerge. Also remove dead or dying trees. Remove and destroy bark from freshly cut wood, or burn or bury wood.
  • Avoid injury to trees, especially during spring and summer. Adult beetles are attracted to wounds.

Chemical Management

IMPORTANT: Visit Home and Garden Fact Sheets for more information on using pesticides.

  • None recommended

Additional Images