Tetropium castaneum

Name:   Tetropium castaneum
Pest Authorities:  (Linneaus)
Taxonomic Position:  Insecta: Coleoptera: Cerambycidae
Sub-specific Taxon:  
Pest Type:   Insect
Common Name(s):
   black spruce beetle (English)
   European spruce longhorn beetle (English)
   Fichtenbock (German)
   Svart granbarkbukk (Norwegian)
   Lsarthron castaneum Linneaus
   Tetropium luridum Gyllenhal
Numerical Score:  9
Relative Risk Rating:  Very High Risk
Uncertainty:   Very Uncertain
Establishment Potential Is High Risk
The relevant criteria chosen for this organism are:  
  • Suitable climatic conditions and suitable host material coincide with ports of entry or major destinations.
  • Organism has active, directed host searching capability or is vectored by an organism with directed, host searching capability.
  • Organism has high inoculum potential or high likelihood of reproducing after entry.
Justification: Tetropium castaneum is widely distributed in Asian and European forests and would undoubtedly find suitable climatic conditions and hosts in forests near many North American ports of entry. This insect can be transported via logs, lumber, wood crating etc and has been intercepted in British Columbia, Canada and Portland, Oregon, U.S. (Humble et al. 2002). It has also been captured in traps in the Dalles, Oregon, east of Portland but it is not known if it has become established (State of Oregon 2001). A closely related Eurasian species, T. fuscum, has become established in the vicinity of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada and is causing severe damage (Anon. 2002). T. castaneum is expected to have a high likelihood of reproducing should it be introduced.

Spread Potential Is High Risk
The relevant criteria chosen for this organism are:  
  • Organism is capable of dispersing more than several km per year through its own movement or by abiotic factors (such as wind, water or vectors).
  • Organism has demonstrated the ability for redistribution through human-assisted transport.
  • Organism has a high reproductive potential
  • Potential hosts have contiguous distribution.
  • Newly established populations may go undetected for many years due to cryptic nature, concealed activity, slow development of damage symptoms, or misdiagnosis.
  • Eradication techniques are unknown, infeasible, or expected to be ineffective.
  • Organism has broad host range.
Justification: Adults are strong fliers and could travel distances of at least 2-3 km in search of hosts. It has a high reproductive potential and a broad host range. The potential North American hosts of Tetropium castaneum, especially species of Picea, Pinus and Quercus, have more or less contiguous distributions across parts of North America. Exotic species of Tetropium would be difficult to detect because they are similar in appearance to indigenous species. This, coupled with logistical problems in remote forest areas, would make eradication extremely difficult. For example, it is believed that the infestation of T. fuscum in eastern Canada may have become established at least 10 years prior to its discovery (Anon. 2002).

Economic Potential Is High Risk
The relevant criteria chosen for this organism are:  
  • Organism attacks hosts or products with significant commercial value (such as for timber, pulp, or wood products.
  • Organism directly causes tree mortality or predisposes host to mortality by other organisms.
  • Damage by organism causes a decrease in value of the host affected, for instance, by lowering its market price, increasing cost of production, maintenance, or mitigation, or reducing value of property where it is located.
  • Organism may cause loss of markets (domestic or foreign) due to presence and quarantine significant status.
  • No effective control measure exists.
Justification: Tetropium castaneum is capable of killing trees, especially trees that are under stress. It is also capable of causing severe structural damage to wood and infestations can result in loss of structural integrity and grade. The total shipment of conifer (softwood) lumber from Canada for destinations abroad was valued at $ 12.48 billion, about 74% of which is exported to the U.S. (CAD 1997, Natural Resources Canada 1998). At high population levels, attacks by native Tetropium spp. render timber useless because of the high density of larval borings (Safranyik and Moeck 1995). In Ontario, the devaluation in lumber grade in spruce and pine presently amounts to about 10% during the first year of attack and up to 20% during the second year (Gardiner 1975). Estimates of 35% value loss could occur in white spruce, Picea glauca (Gardiner 1975).

Environmental Potential Is High Risk
The relevant criteria chosen for this organism are:  
  • Organism is expected to cause significant direct environmental effects, such as extensive ecological disruption or large scale reduction of biodiversity.
  • Introduction of the organism would likely result in control/eradication programs that may have potential adverse environmental affects.
Justification: In its natural range, Tetropium castaneum is primarily an invader of dead or dying trees and is instrumental in their decomposition. However, should this insect become an aggressive tree killer if introduced into North America, environmental impacts could include changes in the species composition of infested forests in favor of non-host species. This insect would have to successfully compete with indigenous insects that occupy similar ecological niches.

Increased activity of indigenous insects and the hazard of wildfires of increased frequency and severity could occur in North American forests as a result of increased tree mortality caused by establishment of this insect.

Control and eradication programs could lead to undesirable environmental impacts associated with chemical or mechanical treatments.

Tetropium castaneum has a wide host range. In its natural range, known coniferous hosts include several species of spruce, Picea spp.; including Picea jezoensis, Picea obovata, Picea abies and Picea omorica, (Juutinen 1955, Ko 1969); fir, Abies spp. including Abies alba, (Saalas 1923), Abies sachalinensis, Abies sibirica and Abies holophylla (Juutinen 1955, Ko 1969, Cherepanov 1990); pines, Pinus spp., including Pinus sylvestris, Pinus sibiricus and Pinis cembra, (Saalas 1923, Gressitt 1951, Cherepanov 1990); common juniper, Juniperus communis, (Saalas 1923, Vité 1952), and sometimes larch, Larix spp., including Larix sibiricus and Larix decidua (Vité 1952, Novak et al. 1976; Cherepanov 1990).

Occasionally hardwoods including oaks, Quercus spp., and walnuts, Juglans spp. are also attacked (Duffy 1953).

In Europe, Tetropium castaneum is typically a pest of spruce, especially Picea abies (Juutinen 1955). In Siberia, however, pines are the preferred host (Escherich 1923).

      This insect is widely distributed in Asia including Japan (Hokaido, Honshu), (Ko 1969, Anonymous 1989), Korea, (Ko 1969), Turkey (Schimitschek 1944), Russia (Kuril Islands, Sakhalin islands, throughout Siberia, Primorskiy Kray, Amur Basin) (Gressitt 1951, Schwenke 1974, Novak et al. 1976, Cherepanov 1990), Kazakhstan (Siberian Zoological Museum 2000) and China (Manchuria, Yunnan Province) and Mongolia (Gressitt 1951).
      Tetropium castaneum occurs throughout Europe, north to Lappland, all of western Europe, including England (Bense 1995), Scotland (Owen 1986), European Russia east to the Ural Mountains (Schimitschek 1929, Vité 1952, Schwenke 1974, Cherepanov 1990, Bense 1995, Barabalat 1997), Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzogovina (Mikšic 1963) and Bulgaria (Ganev 1984).
The genus Tetropium is a large genus of conifer infesting longhorned woodborers. Members of this genus are found in conifer forests of Asia, Europe and North America. Several species are reported capable of killing living trees and one species, T. fuscum, has recently become established near Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Species indigenous to North America include: T. cinnamopterum and T. velutinum, which occur both in eastern and western North America, T. schwarzianus from eastern Canada and T. abietis and T. parvulum in western North America (Knull 1946, Furniss and Carolin 1977).

The life cycle of Tetropium castaneum is generally staggered over a one to two year period depending on climate and nutritional requirements (Juutinen 1955, Schwenke 1974, Johansson et al. 1994). In mild climates, most of the population develops over one year throughout Europe (Novak et al. 1976) and a small portion of the population requires two years to complete development. In colder climates, such as Siberia, most of the population requires two years to complete a generation (Cherepanov 1990, Juutinen 1955).

The larval stage is the typical overwintering stage. However adults may overwinter (Vité 1952; Schwenke 1974 Novak et al. 1976).

The adults live about three weeks, but emergence is staggered so that they are present any time from May to August (Novak et al. 1976). Warm, calm and sunny days are preferred for flight activity (Novak et al. 1976). Flight in Tetropium castaneum generally does not occur below about 12ºC to 14ºC and warm summer temperatures of 19ºC to 24ºC are preferred (Dourojeanni 1971, Dourojeanni and Falisse 1970). First flight is observed between 240 and 300 degree-days accumulated above 5ºC in one year and the peak of flight activity generally occurs at about 450 degree-days above 5ºC (Dourojeanni 1971). At temperatures below 5ºC, egg development ceases (Juutinen 1955).

Adults are sexually mature immediately after emergence from the host and copulate for a short period of time (generally minutes). Typically, wind thrown trees, lightning damaged trees exposed to fire and freshly cut logs are attacked. The chemical ecology for this species is not well known. More general biological information about cerambycids can be gleaned from Gressitt (1959) and Hanks (1999). A few days after mating, the female lays an average of 100 eggs (range 80-150), usually singly, or sometimes in clusters of up to 10 eggs underneath the bark scales or in fresh crevices in the bark of hosts (Juutinen 1955; Schwenke 1974). Microsculptures on the egg’s surface may capture gut symbionts for the larva.

Larvae hatch after a period of 10-14 days and feed directly on the woody tissue. They feed in the cambium and produce an extensive network of wide, irregular tunnels, which are densely filled with sawdust and excrement. Larval development is complete after about two months of feeding (Novak et al. 1976). Mature larvae construct a horizontal gallery into the wood to a depth of about 2 to 5 cm. and continue boring vertically for another 3-4 cm. vertically to form a hook-like gallery. At the end of this gallery, the larva constructs pupal chamber. The mature larva prepares a bed of frass for a pupation site and plugs the entrance to the pupal chamber with frass.

At pupation the head of the larva points towards the plug. Pupation lasts about 14 days (Schwenke 1974). The pupal chamber is constructed near the phloem and xylem interface only during heavy attacks on Picea abies (Novak et al. 1976). In central Europe, the brood adults emerge at the end of the summer from elliptical holes about 5 mm. in diameter (Cherepanov 1990). These are the new generation that will produce overwintering larvae. At average July and August temperatures greater than 20ºC, a generation of Tetropium fuscum, a related species, requires about 120 days for completion. However, if average July and August temperatures are less than 20ºC, then one generation takes about 360 days to complete (Schimitschek 1929). Larvae overwinter in the wood or near the bark as dictated by environmental or nutritional conditions.

A number of natural enemies are known to attack Tetropium castaneum in Eurasia (Schimitschek 1929, Vité 1952, Juutinen 1955, Demelt 1966, Schwenke 1974). The better known and more common parasitoids include: Ichneumonidae: Coleocentrus caligatus, Dolichomites dux, Neeoxorides nitens, Odontocolon spinipes, Rhimphoctona megacephalus, Neoxorides collaris, Xorides praecatorius, X. niger, X. ater and X. brachylabris. Braconidae: Atanycolus initiator, A. denigrator, Baeacis dissimilis, Doryctes obliteratus, D. leucogaster, D. mutillator, Wroughtonia dentator and W. tardator. Tachinidae: Billaea triangulifera. Known predators of palearctic Tetropium spp. include: various spiders (Acarina), Thanasimus spp. (Coleoptera: Cleridae), Athous subfuscus (Coleoptera: Elateridae), Raphidia spp., R. notata (Raphidoptera: Raphidiidae), Inocellia crassicornis (Raphidoptera: Inocellidae) (Vité 1952), Palloptera usta (Diptera: Pallopteridae), and numerous woodpeckers (Juutinen 1955).

Some natural control agents have been identified in Canada, which are known to attack the recently established Tetropium fuscum, and therefore, are likely to attack the closely related species T. castaneum as well. These include: Rhyssa persuasoria, R. lineolata, Clistopyga sauberi, Xorides irrigator (F.) (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae), and Wroughtonia dentator (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) (Schimitschek 1929). Woodpeckers are also known to eat larvae.

Economic Impact:    This woodborer can build up damaging populations during favorable environmental conditions, especially in forests that have suffered from severe insect defoliation (Escherich 1923, Juutinen 1955). Tetropium castaneum is known to able to attack and kill living trees (Juutinen 1955, Freude et al. 1965, Schwenke 1974), but is mostly recognized as a secondary forest insect (Nüsslin 1905, Saalas 1923, Juutinen 1955, Lottyyniemi and Uusvaara 1977).

The primary economic impact caused by Tetropium castaneum is to degrade the quality, structural integrity, and therefore the market value of conifer logs. Spruce, pine and fir are most severely affected (Juutinen 1955). In Europe, T. castaneum causes about 33-44% loss in volume in average aged stands and about 21 to 28% in mature stands (Novak et al. 1976).

Larval galleries leave trees susceptible to secondary infection by various fungi or other pathogens, which further diminish the timber value (Juutinen 1955).

Loss of trees can severely impact recreation and aesthetic values in urban areas, parks or forests if outbreaks occur.

Environmental Impact:   Wood boring insects like Tetropium castaneum are instrumental in decomposition of dead and dying trees, logging residues and stumps (Linsley 1959). This insect can kill trees and, therefore, change species composition of forests in favor of non-host species. High levels of tree mortality could increase the hazard and severity of wildfires in forests.

Control:    Infestations of wood boring beetles are difficult to manage, especially in remote areas. Sanitary harvesting practices and immediate utilization of timber are the best methods to control attack by cerambycids (Juutinen 1955, Safranyik and Moeck 1995, Lucht and Klausnitzer 1998).

Silvicultural techniques, such as thinning, encouraging mixed species forests or timely harvesting of mature forests, designed to maintain stand vigor, optimum canopy closure and healthy forests are more or less standard practices to minimize attack by bark beetles and wood borers (Juutinen 1955; Safranyik and Moeck 1995; Lucht and Klausnitzer 1998). Log decking in the shade at least 50 m from the edge of the forest (Post and Werner 1988) and water sprinkling of logs to maintain high bark turgor is effective in reducing or eliminating attack by Tetropium spp. (Safranyik and Moeck 1995, Hanks 1999). Roadside stacking late in the summer is preferred and processing logs prior to the next spring is also effective in reducing infestations (Post and Werner 1988).

Chemical treatments are possible but pose a health risk to forest workers and are is not practical in remote forest areas. Moreover no pesticides are currently registered for control of Tetropium spp. in North America.

Eradication of infestations would involve destruction of infested trees and quarantine measures designed to restrict movement of infested wood products.

Symptoms:    Evidence of infestation includes larval feeding galleries filled with granular frass, oval shaped exit holes, wind-snapped tree trunks caused by loss of structural integrity and fading foliage of live trees. These symptoms are not specific to Tetropium castaneum, however, and are typical of most woodborers.

Morphology:    The egg is 1.2 mm long and 0.5 mm wide, oblong to oval in shape. Color is white with a silvery tone. The surface is generally smooth and bears a band of microsculpture about 1/5 along its length, towards the head. Differentiation among Tetropium spp. eggs is not possible (Schimitschek 1929). The larva is yellow-white in color, with conspicuous legs on the thorax, the tarsi of which bear tiny spinules (Schimitschek 1929, Cherepanov 1990). Larvae range from 15-27 mm in length and are slightly flattened. The head measures 3.5 mm wide (Švácha and Danilevsky 1987, Cherepanov 1990). Hairs on the sides of the head are sparse and the head is rust or reddish brown, with a narrow white band laterally, typical of the genus. Long, but numerous setaceous hairs with a tubercular sclerotized base occur in the anterior half. Sclerotized and elongate spinules occur on the posterior margin of abdominal tergum IX, which look like spots and are usually not separated by a space. If they are separated by a space then the width of the space is less than the diameter of the spinule. These elongate spinules are set on their tubercular base with extensive, but indistinct sclerotization (Cherepanov 1990).

The pupa is white, about 15 mm long (range 10-20 mm) and about 4.0 mm wide (Cherepanov 1990). The mesonotum (in the region of the scutellum) is tubercularly elevated at the apex and bears highly numerous and sometimes quite large spinules. The pronotum is transversely oval, bulges moderately and occasionally bears a small transverse tubercular protuberance on the anterior margin, particularly on the male. Also fine light colored setae occur laterally and fine transverse streaks are in the middle of the disk with distinct spinules. Tergum VII is broadly rounded posteriorly and has stray minute spinules on the disk that sometimes form a transverse row. Tergite VIII is glabrous and is without spinules (Cherepanov 1990).

The adult varies in size and color throughout its natural range and many forms occur (Juutinen 1955, Novak et al. 1976, Cherepanov 1990). This insect has a flattened body that varies in length from 8-19 mm (Novak et al. 1976, Villiers 1978, Cherepanov 1990, Bense 1995). The typical form is black in color, with a shiny pronotum and brown elytra (Novak et al. 1976, Cherepanov 1990). The antennae and legs are either brown or reddish. The antennae and femora (upper legs) are markedly thick and the pronotal punctation is distinctly sparse. These characteristics of the adult distinguish it from other species of the genus. The elytra are uniformly pubescent, with two longitudinal ridges on the disk and with dense, but very fine punctation (Cherepanov 1990). A deep groove is found on the forehead between the eyes. When viewed from the side, the pronotum has dense granulate punctation and its plate is only rarely punctured. The scutellum has parallel sides and is broadly rounded posteriorly.

Testing Methods for Identification:    Examination of adults by a taxonomist with expertise in the family Cerambycidae is required for positive identification. The adults and larval galleries have sufficient characteristics to permit entomologists to make field identifications to genus.

Adults are strong fliers and could travel several km in search of suitable host trees.

All life stages could be moved via unprocessed logs, lumber, wooden crating, pallets and dunnage. The borings may be blocked by frass and difficult to detect. Other species of Tetropium have been intercepted at international ports of entry and T. fuscum has become established in the vicinity of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada (Anon. 2000). All interceptions and introductions of Tetropium spp. have been via wood products in international trade.

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Erhard John Dobesberger
Name and Address of the First Author:
Erhard John Dobesberger
Science Division
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
3851 Fallowfield Road
Ottawa, Ontario
Canada K2H 8P9
CREATION DATE:        12/27/02
MODIFICATION DATE:        10/17/05

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Life Cycle
larva and pupa
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University of Udin


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Larval entrance holes
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