About this tool


This tool is designed to help identify bark beetles (Curculionidae: Scolytinae) to the taxonomic level of genus without the need for expertise in the group. Targeted users include APHIS’ pest survey specialists, ports of entry inspectors, other inspection personnel, students, and scientists. The “Is it a bark beetle?” page provides information on how to distinguish a bark beetle from members of other groups with similar appearance within the Curculionidae and in the family Bostrichidae. A generic focus was adopted due to the complexity and diversity of the group which facilitated a single key integrating all genera occurring in the continental United States.


This tool is part of the comprehensive A Resource for Wood Boring Beetles of the World, a portal to a variety of websites related to the identification of members of the nine beetle families collectively known as wood boring beetles. There are other excellent diagnostic resources available to identify bark beetles and related groups to the species level for some geographic areas in the USA. Links to some of these can be found in the “external links” page. This key complements more specific tools and may serve as a first step.


The tool provides diagnostic information using distinguishing characters. When available, these characters are presented with high resolution images representative of each genus. When possible, the image of a well-known or potentially damaging species is included. Each genus is linked to a fact sheet that provides detailed information about the group. The tool will help identify the 78 genera of native and established exotic bark beetles in the scoped region.

User knowledge requirements

The key is designed for users with limited knowledge about the group to identify bark beetles to genus. Some characters are better observed with magnification; you should ideally have access to a stereoscope with a magnification capacity of 50X .

Other informative tool features

A glossary is provided to help with technical terms pertinent to the group, and a “how to use” section provides tips and tricks for efficiently navigating the interactive key. The “about bark beetles” page offers some natural history and background information for this important group of beetles. The image gallery also offers a way to quickly compare species. You can filter the images by view to easily compare features.