Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Ips cembrae
(large larch bark beetle)



Ips cembrae (large larch bark beetle)


  • Last modified
  • 05 December 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Ips cembrae
  • Preferred Common Name
  • large larch bark beetle
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Arthropoda
  •       Subphylum: Uniramia
  •         Class: Insecta

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Ips cembrae (large larch bark beetle); adult. Museum set specimen.
CaptionIps cembrae (large larch bark beetle); adult. Museum set specimen.
Copyright©Rune Axelsson
Ips cembrae (large larch bark beetle); adult. Museum set specimen.
AdultIps cembrae (large larch bark beetle); adult. Museum set specimen.©Rune Axelsson


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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Ips cembrae (Heer, 1836)

Preferred Common Name

  • large larch bark beetle

Other Scientific Names

  • Bostrichus cembrae Heer, 1836
  • Ips cembrae var. engadinensis Fuchs, 1913
  • Ips fallax Eggers, 1915
  • Ips shinanoensis Yono, 1924
  • Tomicus cembrae (Heer, 1836)

International Common Names

  • English: scolytid, larger pine
  • French: bostryche du meleze, grand; scolyte du cembrot

Local Common Names

  • Germany: Borkenkaefer, Achtzaehniger Laerchen-; Borkenkaefer, Grosser Laerchen-; Grosser Lärchenborkenkäfer
  • Italy: Bostrico del pino cembro
  • Japan: matu-no-o-kikuimusi
  • Norway: Lerkebarkbille

EPPO code

  • IPSXCE (Ips cembrae)

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Metazoa
  •         Phylum: Arthropoda
  •             Subphylum: Uniramia
  •                 Class: Insecta
  •                     Order: Coleoptera
  •                         Family: Scolytidae
  •                             Genus: Ips
  •                                 Species: Ips cembrae

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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In Russia and the Far East, a similar species Ips subelongatus occurs on Larix sibirica and other hosts. Many authors regard this as subsp. subelongatus of I. cembrae. With respect to the whole Eurasian region covered by EPPO, these two taxa are regarded as presenting distinct phytosanitary risks (whether considered as two distinct species, or as subspecies of a single species). With respect to other continents, they can be considered together. The molecular relationships of seven European Ips species, including I. cembrae, have been analysed by Stauffer et al. (1997).


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Adult beetles are blackish, 4-6 mm long. There are four spines on each side of the elytral declivity. The third is the largest and is strongly capitate (Balachowsky, 1949; Grüne, 1979). The larva has been described by Kalina (1969).


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I. cembrae is distributed throughout the Larix forests of the Alps and Carpathians in central Europe. It has also spread to Larix plantations in the Netherlands (Luitjes, 1974), Scotland, UK, and other countries.

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Last updated: 12 May 2022
Continent/Country/Region Distribution Last Reported Origin First Reported Invasive Reference Notes


ChinaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.


CroatiaPresent, LocalizedNative
CzechiaPresent, WidespreadNative
CzechoslovakiaAbsent, Invalid presence record(s)
FinlandAbsent, Intercepted only
FrancePresent, LocalizedNative
GermanyPresent, WidespreadNative
GreeceAbsent, Confirmed absent by survey
HungaryPresent, LocalizedNative
IrelandAbsent, Confirmed absent by survey
ItalyPresent, LocalizedNative
NetherlandsPresent, LocalizedNative
PolandPresent, LocalizedNative
PortugalAbsent, Confirmed absent by survey
RussiaPresent, Localized
-Central RussiaPresent, LocalizedNative
-Northern RussiaPresent, Localized
SerbiaAbsent, Unconfirmed presence record(s)
Serbia and MontenegroPresentNative
SlovakiaPresent, LocalizedNative
SloveniaPresent, WidespreadNative
SpainAbsent, Confirmed absent by survey
SwitzerlandPresent, LocalizedNative
UkrainePresent, WidespreadNative
United KingdomPresent, LocalizedNativeFirst reported: 195*
-EnglandPresent, Localized
-Northern IrelandAbsent, Confirmed absent by survey
-ScotlandPresent, Localized


New ZealandAbsent, Intercepted only

Risk of Introduction

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I. cembrae is regulated by the European Union (EU, 2000). A protected zone covering Greece, Ireland and parts of UK (Northern Ireland, Isle of Man) is designated. In the Irish/Northern Irish zone, no Ips species occur naturally, and many plantations of exotic conifers have been established, including Larix decidua and other Larix species. It is intended to maintain this zone free from other European and non-European bark beetles. Elsewhere in Europe, I. cembrae is an indigenous species presenting no particular risk.

I. cembrae may present a risk to other continents where Larix plantations are exploited, particularly North America and eastern Asia.

Appropriate phytosanitary measures would be to require treatment (debarking or kiln-drying) or "pest-free area" for wood, and treatment or "pest-free area" for bark. For plants for planting, which present little risk, only very large plants (above 3 m) might be considered ("pest-free place of production"). It may be appropriate to extend the requirement to other, less important hosts (Picea, Pinus).

Habitat List

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Hosts/Species Affected

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Larix decidua is the main host. Exotic Larix species planted in Europe may also be affected (L. leptolepis). The beetle may also occasionally breed in species of the genera Pinus and Picea.

Host Plants and Other Plants Affected

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Plant nameFamilyContextReferences
Larix decidua (common larch)PinaceaeMain
Larix kaempferi (Japanese larch)PinaceaeOther
Picea (spruces)PinaceaeOther
Pinus (pines)PinaceaeOther
Pinus cembra (arolla pine)PinaceaeOther

Growth Stages

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Vegetative growing stage


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Breeding occurs under the thick bark of Larix. Most commonly, three female galleries diverge longitudinally from the nuptial chamber, two in one direction and one in the opposite direction. Galleries with one, two or four female galleries are also found. Female galleries are rarely longer than 25 cm, usually 13-17 cm.

List of Symptoms/Signs

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SignLife StagesType
Stems / internal feeding

Biology and Ecology

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Adults emerge from hibernation sites in May. Main flight takes place on warm days in late May/early June. Males initiate boring and release a pheromone consisting of ipsdienol, ipsenol and 3-methyl-3-buten-1-ol (Stoakely et al., 1978; Rebenstorff and Francke, 1982). There may be one or two annual generations depending on the length of the summer season. The second generation may fly in August/September. There may also be a sister brood of the first generation, flying in June.

The new generation adults have a maturation feed in late summer, either in branches of younger trees or near to the brood gallery, if there is still fresh bark present. Adults aggregate in response to terpenoid pheromones (Kohnle et al., 1988). Adults hibernate in tunnels resulting from maturation feeding under thicker bark of trunks lying on the ground or, more commonly, in the forest litter (Schneider, 1977).

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Dinotiscus eupterus Parasite Arthropods|Larvae
Rhopalicus tutela Parasite Arthropods|Larvae
Roptrocerus barbatus Parasite Arthropods|Larvae
Roptrocerus xylophagorum Parasite Arthropods|Larvae

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Laboratory experiments have shown that adult Ips species can fly continuously for several hours. In the field, however, flight has only been observed to take place over limited distances and then usually downwind. Beetles have been found in the stomach of trout in lakes 35 km from the nearest spruce forest, probably carried by the wind (Nilssen, 1978). Dispersal over longer distances depends on transportation under the bark of logs. I. cembrae has been intercepted on wood from central Europe imported into Sweden. There is little risk of movement with plants for planting.

Plant Trade

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Plant parts not known to carry the pest in trade/transport
Fruits (inc. pods)
Growing medium accompanying plants
Seedlings/Micropropagated plants
Stems (above ground)/Shoots/Trunks/Branches
True seeds (inc. grain)


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This species is a secondary pest in native European Larix plantations, breeding in logs, wind-blown stems and dying trees. In Germany, timber from the April felling of larch is rapidly attacked and severely invaded (Elsner, 1997). Drought conditions on drier sites may promote attack on green trees. The introduced population in the UK is able to attack live trees suffering from drought stress (Bevan, 1987). The introduced population in the Netherlands developed on storm-damaged trees (Luitjes, 1974). As in the case of other conifer bark beetles, I. cembrae acts as a vector for a bluestain fungus (Ceratocystis laricicola) which also damages the tree (Redfern et al., 1987).

Detection and Inspection

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Pheromone trapping can be used to detect Ips cembrae in the field (Niemeyer, 1989; Pavlin, 1997).

Prevention and Control

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Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.

Control measures are not used against this species, except to protect logs (Stoakely, 1975). According to Watzek and Niemeyer (1996), larch harvested by modern harvesters is readily colonized by I. cembrae, so control is needed. When thinnings are left unbarked in the stand, infestations may become severe, so spatial or temporal gaps should be left between harvesting and thinning.


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Balachowsky A, 1949. Coleoptera, Scolytides. Faune de France 50. Paris, France: P Lechevalier

Bevan D, 1987. Forest insects: a guide to insects feeding on trees in Britain. Forestry Commission Handbook, UK, No. 1:153 pp

CABI/EPPO, 1998. Distribution maps of quarantine pests for Europe (edited by Smith IM, Charles LMF). Wallingford, UK: CAB International, xviii + 768 pp

CABI/EPPO, 2007. Ips cembrae. [Distribution map]. Distribution Maps of Plant Pests, No.June. Wallingford, UK: CABI, Map 690

Elsner G, 1997. Relationships between cutting time in winter and breeding success of Ips cembrae (Col., Scolytidae) in larch timber. Mitteilungen der Deutschen Gesellschaft fu^umlaut~r Allgemeine und Angewandte Entomologie, 11(1/6):653-657; 6 ref

EPPO, 2014. PQR database. Paris, France: European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization.

EU, 2000. Council Directive 2000/29/EC of 8 July 2000 on protective measures against the introduction into the Member States of organisms harmful to plant or plant products. Official Journal of the European Communities, No L169, 1-112

Grüne S, 1979. Handbuch zur bestimmung der Europäischen Borkenkäfer (Brief illustrated key to European bark beetles). Hannover, Germany: Verlag M & H Schapfer

Kalina V, 1969. Larvae of European bark beetles (Coleoptera, Scolytidae). Studia Entomologica Forestalia, 1:13-22, 2:41-61

Kohnle U, Vite JP, Erbacher C, Bartels J, Francke W, 1988. Aggregation response of European engraver beetles of the genus Ips mediated by terpenoid pheromones. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata, 49(1-2):43-53

Luitjes J, 1974. Ips cembrae, a new noxious forest insect in the Netherlands. Nederlands Bosbouw Tijdschrift, 46(11):244-246

Mandel'shtam MYu, Popovichev BG, 2000. Annotated list of bark beetles (Coleoptera, Scolytidae) of Leningrad province. E^dot over~ntomologicheskoe Obozrenie, 79(3):599-618; 49 ref

Niemeyer H, 1989. First results with a pheromone-trap system for monitoring bark beetles in Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein. Forst und Holz, 44(5):114-115

Nilssen AC, 1978. Development of a bark fauna in plantation of spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) in North Norway. Astarte, 11:151-169

Pavlin R, 1997. New locations of the larch bark beetle (Ips cembrae) in Slovenia. Gozdarski Vestnik, 55(7/8):336-342; 12 ref

Rebenstorff H, Francke W, 1982. Larch bark-beetle: monitoring with attractants? Allgemeine Forstzeitschrift, No. 15:450

Redfern DB, Stoakley JT, Steele H, Minter DW, 1987. Dieback and death of larch caused by Ceratocystis laricicola sp. nov. following attack by Ips cembrp. Plant Pathology, 36(4):467-480

Schneider HJ, 1977. Experience in the control of the large larch bark beetle in stands of low vitality. Allgemeine Forst Zeitschrift, 32:1115-1116

Smith IM, McNamara DG, Scott PR, Holderness M, 1997. Quarantine pests for Europe. Second Edition. Data sheets on quarantine pests for the European Union and for the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization. Quarantine pests for Europe. Second Edition. Data sheets on quarantine pests for the European Union and for the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization., Ed. 2:vii + 1425 pp.; many ref

Stauffer C, Lakatos F, Hewitt GM, 1997. The phylogenetic relationships of seven European Ips (Scolytidae, Ipinae) species. Insect Molecular Biology, 6(3):233-240; 32 ref

Stoakely JT, 1975. Control of larch bark beetle, Ips cembrae. Forestry Commission, UK, Research Information Note, No. 5

Stoakley JT, Bakke A, Renwick JAA, Vite JP, 1978. The aggregation pheromone system of the larch bark beetle, Ips cembrp Heer. Zeitschrift fur Angewandte Entomologie, 86(2):174-177

Watzek G, Niemeyer H, 1996. Reduction of bark beetle damage by using harvesters and by work organization. Forst und Holz, 51(8):247-250; 3 ref

Zhang QH, Birgersson G, Schlyter F, Chen GF, 2000. Pheromone components in the larch bark beetle Ips cembrae from China: quantitative variation among attack phases and individuals. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 26:841-858

Distribution References

CABI, EPPO, 2007. Ips cembrae. [Distribution map]. In: Distribution Maps of Plant Pests, Wallingford, UK: CABI. Map 690. DOI:10.1079/DMPP/20073108414

CABI, Undated. CABI Compendium: Status inferred from regional distribution. Wallingford, UK: CABI

CABI, Undated a. CABI Compendium: Status as determined by CABI editor. Wallingford, UK: CABI

EPPO, 2022. EPPO Global database. In: EPPO Global database, Paris, France: EPPO. 1 pp.

Grucmanová Š, Holuśa J, Trombik J, Lukášová K, 2014. Large larch bark beetle Ips cembrae (Coleoptera: Curculionidae, Scolytinae) in the Czech Republic: analysis of population development and catches in pheromone traps. Lesnícky Časopis. 60 (3), 143-149.

Mandel'shtam M Yu, Popovichev B G, 2000. Annotated list of bark beetles (Coleoptera, Scolytidae) of Leningrad province. Ėntomologicheskoe Obozrenie. 79 (3), 599-618.

NPPO of the Netherlands, 2013. Pest status of harmful organisms in the Netherlands., Wageningen, Netherlands:

Seebens H, Blackburn T M, Dyer E E, Genovesi P, Hulme P E, Jeschke J M, Pagad S, Pyšek P, Winter M, Arianoutsou M, Bacher S, Blasius B, Brundu G, Capinha C, Celesti-Grapow L, Dawson W, Dullinger S, Fuentes N, Jäger H, Kartesz J, Kenis M, Kreft H, Kühn I, Lenzner B, Liebhold A, Mosena A (et al), 2017. No saturation in the accumulation of alien species worldwide. Nature Communications. 8 (2), 14435.

Zhang QingHe, Birgersson G, Schlyter F, Chen GuoFa, 2000. Pheromone components in the larch bark beetle, Ips cembrae, from China: quantitative variation among attack phases and individuals. Journal of Chemical Ecology. 26 (4), 841-858. DOI:10.1023/A:1005447922939

Links to Websites

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GISD/IASPMR: Invasive Alien Species Pathway Management Resource and DAISIE European Invasive Alien Species Gateway source for updated system data added to species habitat list.
Global register of Introduced and Invasive species (GRIIS) source for updated system data added to species habitat list.

Distribution Maps

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