Answer: There are several species of pine beetles that affect pines in the southern states. Some, such as the Southern Pine Bark Beetle, are devastating and mean certain death of the trees. Others, such as the Turpentine Beetle are a nuisance, but not as dangerous of a threat. Note whether you see sawdust around the base of the tree and in the bark crevaces and if so, whether it is white or brown. Also note the size of any sap globs exuding from the trunk (quarter size, dime size, etc) and where they appear on the trunk (lower 8 feet, all the way up the trunk, etc.).
Then contact your County Extension Office and explain the situation to them. They should be able to identify the specific pest and recommend the suitability of control options. Or, perhaps refer you to a local forestry specialist who can help. Their phone number is 407-233-1712.
To my knowledge, nothing will kill beetles already in the tree (which will soon complete their life cycle and exit the tree). If the infestation is light, the tree may survive and a series of sprays can serve to prevent reinfestation. Lindane is a common option for protecting trees from reinfestation or new attacks, but will not control beetles already in the tree.
Thanks for the question and good luck with your trees.
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