Bursaphelenchus xylophilus
Pine Wilt Nematode

  • Damage to Pine trees. Rapid wilting and death results from infestations of susceptible pine trees by the pinewood nematode.
  • Biology.   Bursaphelenchus xylophilus is transported to pine trees by Pinesawyer beetles where it feeds on Blue-stain fungus as well as cells lining the resin canals of the tree.  The nematodes spread throughout the tree and multiply very rapidly. As they destroy the resin canal cells, the tree's water-moving system becomes clogged and resin flow stops. 
  • Ecology.  The widespread distribution of the pinewood nematode suggests that it is native to the United States.
  • Symptoms.  Pine wilt symptoms develop very quickly.  Affected trees can turn brown and die in as little as 3 weeks.
  • Damage to other crops.  Pine wilt is most serious on Scots pine, although it has also been reported on Austrian and white pines. It is considered to be a potentially serious problem in landscape settings, windbreaks, Christmas tree farms, and recreational plantings.
  • Control.  Dead trees must be cut down and burned before the sawyer beetles emerge in early to mid summer. Once infected there is no effective control measure.
  • References.  Home and garden factsheet.  Michigan State University.;   K-State Reseach and Extension: Pinewood nematode