Excerpts from the report Introduction: What is the southern pine beetle? It is a member of the bark beetle family—a notorious group of insects that includes many serious pests of North American forests. The SPB may be found from around Chesapeake Bay and the central Appalachian Mountains of Maryland and Virginia through the Southeastern and Gulf States into Texas. It is a native insect and attacks all major species of pine, with damage most severe in loblolly and shortleaf pines. Although damage varies from year to year and from place to place, the beetle inflicts heavy losses on southern forests. In the early 1970's, the SPB killed trees containing more than 879 million board feet of sawtimber—enough to build about 55,000 houses.