I recently responded to a call about dead pines trees on the edge of an individual’s property. There were four to five dead or dying trees. The trees were slowly dying and it became more pronounced as you moved to the center tree. This is what I found upon further investigation… An Ips beetle, more specifically the small southern pine engraver.
The small southern pine engraver, I. avulsus , is the smallest of the Ips beetles. Adults are 2.3 to 2.8 mm (0.1 inch) long and have four small spines on each side of the sunken area on their rear ends. I. avulsus breeds in all species of pines. It prefers the thin bark on cut tree limbs and tops, but can attack and kill groups of young, vigorous trees and the tops of large, living trees. Ips avulsus attacks on the tops of large trees and are often associated with attacks by other species of bark beetles on the lower portion of the tree. The life cycle of this beetle can be completed on as few as 25 days, and there may six generations each year.