Destructive Southern pine beetle detected at 4 state sites

(WTNH / Tina Detelj)

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut environmental officials say the destructive Southern pine beetle has been detected at four sites in Hartford, Litchfield and New Haven counties.

Officials say Connecticut’s native white pine is not at risk, but pitch pine and other hard pines are. The insect is native to the Southeastern United States where it infests and kills large stands of pine.

Pitch pine provides a habitat for endangered species such as tiger beetles that need pine-oak sandy barrens. It’s unclear how or when the beetle arrived in Connecticut.

Visual surveys will determine the extent of the infestation.

Pines use their resin to repel attacking beetles and if the attack is successful, beetles lay eggs under the bark. Larvae feed on the circulatory system of the tree, killing it in one to two years.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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