Don’t be fooled by their pencil point size, these brown to black beetles are not trivial pests. A significant beetle attack can destroy a tree within a few weeks.
There are several species of bark, or engraver, beetles, which primarily attack pine and spruce. Since both adults and larvae tunnel into the nutrient conducting tissue just under the bark, pine bark beetles are classified as borers.
Because your tree may not show symptoms until it is infested, a proactive approach is important. Pine bark beetles do not typically threaten healthy trees, so follow good cultural practices such as watering to relieve drought stress, mulching, fertilizing and pruning to maintain your tree’s health.
But if you notice sawdust or pitch mass expulsion from several points on the trunk, you may have a beetle problem. Keep an eye on stressed trees as they are particularly vulnerable to attack. If possible, remove weakened trees or infested trees to manage borer populations.