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Beetle Attack!
Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Learn how a tiny bark beetle has killed hundreds of rare Torrey Pines and what is being done to control the loss.

The Torrey Pine has very few natural predators, other than two species of beetle, one being the California Five Spine Engraver Beetle and another being a Red Turpentine Beetle. Both of those beetles are native beetles and they don't normally kill trees. Most recently however we've had a series of years with below-average rainfall that have led to areas in the park not having the moisture available in the soil that was available previously. So where we've seen tree loss in the last couple years has typically been on very sandy knolls in the main reserved and also in the park extension.

The way in which we try to best understand what's happening in the park with respect to bark beetles is we have a whole series of traps throughout the reserve. We're not trying to extricate the beetles from the reserve. they're naturally occurring here, they are native insects, but we are making a decision that the Torrey Pines, being as rare as they are, need to be preserved for future generations. The Torrey Pine has lived here and prevailed here under very difficult conditions over a long period of time. And so unless something like an exotic disease or insect were introduced to the park, we expect these trees will live here long after we do.


Hosted by
Charles Kerns, Park Naturalist

Production Coordinator
Peter Jensen, Torrey Pines Association

Produced by:
The Torrey Pines Association

Funding Provided  by:
The Ellen Browning Scripps Foundation

Film Code: TPA-WF16

Funding for this Wild Web Film was provided by the Torrey Pines Association
2016 Torrey Pines Association

Produced, filmed and edited by
Jim Karnik Films
 Copyright 2010 Jim Karnik Films