Many people in southeastern Manitoba have noticed an increase in sawyer beetles this year. 

Sawyer beetles are large, mostly black beetles with long antennae that stick out to the side. They are considered minor pests that mostly target coniferous trees. Reported sightings in the Southeast soared in mid-June.

Fiona Ross works as an entomologist in the Forestry and Peatlands Branch in Manitoba's Natural Resources and Northern Development Department. She says sawyer beetles or white-spotted sawyer beetles are native insects in Manitoba and their populations fluctuate with the conditions. 

"The reason we start to see them get higher is the sawyer beetles are very good at finding trees that are under some stress, that are not super healthy and they might have something else that is going on with them and so the sawyer beetles are good at finding those trees and using them to live in and reproduce."

Ross says we are certainly seeing more trees under stress right now. 

"We've had very dry weather up until this year and now, in many areas, we have had some flooding and high areas of water. Trees right now are under stress. They are recovering from this long-term drought and that would have some impact on their health quality. Now we are getting a lot of water and, in some cases, that is great and, in some cases, it is too much water." 

According to Ross, sawyer beetles spend most of their lives as larvae under the bark of the tree. She notes they will mature in stages leading to a fluctuation in population throughout the summer.  

Ross says there are ways to minimize sawyer beetles in your yard. 

"Some of the things that the public can do, especially with their own trees is just to try to keep those trees as healthy as possible. That is watering the trees, having them pruned if that is needed, treating the trees for other issues that are going on and just trying to reduce the stress on the trees in general."

And if you do see sawyer beetles or have questions, Ross says you can call 204-945-7866 or email