Southern Pine Beetle

This tree was perfectly healthy two months ago, well, it looked that way anyway. Apparently it was under attack by the Southern Pine Beetle we just couldn't see it yet. We had a little wind one evening and the branches began popping and snapping off. The tree had to be cut down before it came down on its own. It was leaning toward my house and we knew if it fell on its own, it was taking out the kitchen in the process. The time had come.

According to the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture this beetle is the "most destructive forrest insect in the southern united states." I've seen a lot of destruction in eastern Tennessee, but it isn't as common here in middle Tennessee.  The tree service was quick and efficient when they cleared the tree, but there was one piece of wood left behind by the crew, and it showed some physical damage from the beetle.
Aside from a giant dead tree, the Southern Pine Beetle leaves other evidence and some of it can be seen here. Adults leave a blue-stain fungus as the tunnel out and tiny holes on the bark where they erupt from the bark. 

I'm glad to have the tree gone. and I hope the other pines near it are not infected. It is amazing how different a place can look and feel when you remove a single tree. 

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