Bark Beetle Wars

 

bark reetle

 

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The winter of 2004 - 2005 provided lots of moisture. The lakes are full, the ground is saturated, and most pines and junipers will have enough moisture to fight off bark beetles for another year. But low moisture years will be back... and so will the bark beetles.

Well, it was nice while it lasted, but the drought is back... with a vengeance! The almost total lack of snow pack and very little rainfall during the 2005 - 2006 winter promises to really stress the trees.bark reetle

The fire danger is already high, and forest use restrictions are in effect in some areas.

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Arizona's pine and juniper forests are under attack by bark beetles.

 

And we're not alone. Bark beetles of various types are killing forests around the Western U.S. and all across Canada. There's even some in Northern Mexico.

Experts attribute this bad bug's successful attacks to one primary condition... tree density. That is to say, too many trees crowding our forests. It seems that if we don't thin the forests, nature will.

bark reetle

Nature's primary thinning tool is fire. If we continually put out the fires, nature apparently waits for drought conditions to stress the trees - and then sends the bark beetles to attack and kill.

 
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The tree's natural defense against this and other insects is resin, or pitch. Moisture in the ground and available to the trees is necessary for the tree to produce healthy amounts of pitch.

The experts also emphasize:

  • Forest thinning is the best, and possibly only way to prevent these devastating attacks
  • Cutting down and disposing of infested trees before the beetles fly to another victim will help save surrounding trees
  • You can help trees on your property stay strong and resistant to beetles by deep watering
  • Reddish-brown boring dust in the crevices of the bark indicates a bark beetle infestation
On a forest-wide basis, thinning programs seem to be the correct... and only answer.

For answers to frequently asked questions, follow this bark beetle link.

 

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