Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Mountain Pine Beetles - what a pain in the bark!

Over the past years of living in Montana we have noticed a dead pine trees here and there in the landscape, and read that it was due to the Mountain Pine Beetle...

It never hit so close to home as it has this year. We have a few big beautiful pine trees up at the lake that died from this beetle this season.

Mountain Pine Beetles have been around for a long time and some say they are healthy for a forest ecosystem (to an extent) creating small stand openings. More and more pine trees are affected by this each year due to, yes folks, global warming! Our winters in Montana are getting increasingly warmer and therefore, it fails to kill the beetles (the larvae) off during that time of year.
Jeff has done lots of research on this beetle over the summer and has educated himself on what we need to do to prevent further outbreak on our property...including taking down the dead ones (chopping them up and covering the wood pile with a black tarp to kill off the beetles that are currently in it) also watering the healthy trees from time to time during the summer (since the pine beetles tend to go after trees that are weakened by drought and disease), and thinning the trees around the affected area.

Here are a few websites/articles we found interesting and a good source of information:

A Washington Post Article: 'Rapid Warming' Spreads Havoc in Canada's Forests
A colorado State University webpage about the Mountain Pine Beetle
And a Washington State University webpage about the Mountain Pine Beetle

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