Abstract Invasive bark beetles are posing a major threat to forest resources around the world. DAISIE’s web-based and printed databases of invasive species in Europe provide an incomplete and misleading picture of the alien scolytines and platypodines. We present a review of the alien bark beetle fauna of Europe based on primary literature through 2009. We find that there are 18 Scolytinae and one Platypodinae species apparently established in Europe, from 14 different genera. Seventeen species are naturalized. We argue that Trypodendron laeve, commonly considered alien in Europe, is a native species; conversely, we hypothesize that Xyleborus pfeilii, which has always been treated as indigenous, is an alien species from Asia. We also point out the possibility that the Asian larch bark beetle Ips subelongatus is established in European Russia. We show that there has been a marked acceleration in the rate of new introductions to Europe, as is also happening in North America: seven alien species were first recorded in the last decade. We present information on the biology, origins, and distributions of the alien species. All but four are polyphagous, and 11 are inbreeders: two traits which increase invasiveness. Eleven species are native to Asia, six to the Americas, and one is from the Canary Islands. The Mediterranean is especially favorable for invasives, hosting a large proportion of the aliens (9/19). Italy, France and Spain have the largest numbers of alien species (14, 10 and 7, respectively). We point out that the low numbers for at least some countries is likely due to under-reporting. Finally, we discuss the difficulties associated with identifying newly invasive species. Lack of good illustrations and keys hinder identification, particularly for species coming from Asia and Oceania.