Colorado IPS Beetle


  • Small exit holes in trunk or branches
  • Frass or sawdust caused by the boring activity, easy to see on felled trees and firewood as long as wind hasn’t blown it away
  • Bark being striped off by woodpeckers
  • Large holes in trunk and branches from woodpeckers


IPS are a type of bark beetle that attack several species of trees including spruce, ponderosa, lodgepole and limber pine. There are 11 species of IPS beetle found in Colorado. The ponderosa species of IPS is the largest species of ips and they will attack both healthy and stressed ponderosa. For the most part these beetles are small, they are usually 1/8″-3/8” in size and range in color from black to relish brown. IPS beetle kills branches and trees by creating tunnels, which eventually girdles the branch or the entire tree. Typically, IPS will only infest weak or stressed trees, so proper nutrition for newly transplanted and high value trees is critical. We do offer soil injections, trunk injections and trunk sprays to control these types of beetles. Often you can identify IPS damage when woodpeckers begin striping of the bark to get the active larvae in the tree. These beetles can have up to 5 generations within a season, so in areas with a lot of IPS activity 2 trunk sprays with a season may be necessary. Population spikes can occur in mono cultures where there are a lot of the same species of trees in close proximity such as a ponderosa forest and when there is a lot of fresh firewood and felled trees. Often we find people will cut down infested trees and keep the wood to burn. We highly discourage this activity, and we often find that the trees closest to the firewood piles in the preceding years are the first to be invaded and eventually die too.