In the United States of America, forest pests are associated with climate variability. Such studies are scarce in Mexico.
Objectives: To create a data base of historical outbreaks of bark beetles and analyze their relationship with drought.Materials and methods: Historical records of outbreaks of bark beetles were obtained from official documents in Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras. Dendroclimatic indices were used as a climate proxy. The relationship between pest outbreaks and climate was analyzed with the Superpose Epoch Analysis (SEA).
Results and discussion: A database of 120 years (1895-2015) of bark beetle outbreaks was created. The most frequent species were Dendroctonus mexicanus Hopkins, Dendroctonus frontalis Zimmermann and Dendroctonus adjunctus Blandford. A total of 106 records of outbreaks in 15 states of Mexico were recorded during the period 1903-2015; 16 outbreaks in Guatemala during the period 1895-2013, and 15 outbreaks in Honduras during the period 1962-2015. Historically, outbreaks were recorded in years with below-average precipitation (550 mm) and have increased since 1970. The SEA determined that bark beetle outbreaks in Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras were recorded during dry years (P < 0.05) with non-significant positive values (P > 0.05) of NIÑO 3 and PDSI (Palmer Drought Severity Index) and significant negative indices (P < 0.01) of NIÑO 3 and PDSI in the year prior to the outbreak, conditions involving intense drought.Conclusion: A significant relationship was determined between bark beetle outbreaks and drought conditions for the last 120 years.