La Comuna in Bunyola. | A. Vibot


Tomicus piniperda (the Pine shoot beetle) is a bark beetle native to Europe. It is one of the most destructive shoot-feeding species in northern Europe and it is affecting La Comuna in Bunyola. The beetle has also affected an area of Maresme in the Barcelona province, where there is to felling in a 400 hectare area; thousands of pine trees are being killed off by the beetle.

La Comuna is almost double the size of that affected area. There are at present no precise figures for how many trees have been infected. At its early stage it is difficult to detect as the beetle makes a small hole and enters the tree trunk, at which point the tree starts to deteriorate.

Bunyola town hall says that there are affected pines in La Comuna and in other parts of the municipality. The town hall adds that it believes the beetle has spread across Majorca.

A biologist has been taken on by the town hall and measures are being taken against the beetle. One is to fell infected trees and to remove all wood so that it doesn't represent a threat. The second is the use of traps to capture adult beetles.

The town hall has posted information on its website and stresses the importance of not leaving any traces of trees that are felled. It also makes the point that the problem isn't seasonal in that there are two types of beetle, one that is active between April and October and the other from October to April.

The biologist explains that the processionary caterpillar is just as much of a threat to pine trees as the beetle. In contrast to the beetle, the caterpillar is that much more obvious and can be dealt with far more easily.