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Larger eight-toothed European spruce bark beetle (Ips typographus)

The larger eight-toothed European spruce bark beetle (Ips typographus) is considered a serious pest on spruce in Europe and has recently been found in the wider environment in England as part of routine plant health surveillance activity.

The beetle is mainly a secondary pest, preferring stressed or weakened trees.  However, under the right environmental conditions, beetle numbers can increase enough to result in attacks on living trees. 

If left uncontrolled, the beetle, in association with pathogenic fungi (particularly the blue stain fungus Endoconidiophora polonica), has the potential to cause significant damage to Britain’s spruce-based forestry and timber industries.


Adult beetles are dormant and hibernate over winter under the bark of trees, logs and leaf litter. They then re-emerge in spring, when the temperature rises above 20 degrees centigrade.

The beetle prefers stressed or weakened trees e.g. windblown, damaged and recently felled spruce trees, where, under the right environmental conditions, beetle numbers can increase.  Inspection of trees in this category should be a priority.

Also look for standing individual and groups of dead trees. This arises when the beetles ‘mass attack’ trees, overcoming the trees’ usual defences by a combination of large numbers and blue stain fungus carried by adult beetles. Under the right environmental conditions, this phase can lead to extensive tree deaths.

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.

Please note, the larger eight-toothed spruce bark beetle (Ips typographus) can often be confused with the great spruce bark beetle (Dendroctonus micans). A symptom guide is available to download from this page to assist with identification.

Reporting sightings

Please remain vigilant for signs of Ips typographus. If you think you have spotted signs of this beetle then please tell us using our Tree Alert form.

Plant Health (Ips typographus) (England) Order 2019

To protect the country against this pest, the Plant Health (Ips typographus) (England) Order 2019 came into force on 16th January 2019. The Order allows the Forestry Commission to demarcate areas around confirmed outbreak sites, and imposes movement restrictions on conifer material capable of spreading the pest. 

The first Notice of the Order will come into force on 21st January 2019 and applies to the movement of spruce (Picea) material with bark,  (e.g. wood with bark, isolated bark, live trees over 3 meters) that has originated within ca. a 50km radius of the outbreak site in Kent, UK. The exact boundaries of the restricted area and further details can be found within the Notice

Contingency plan

The larger eight-toothed spruce bark beetle (Ips typographus) – contingency plan sets out the steps that will be taken in the event of an outbreak in Great Britain.