Monday, June 27, 2011

Preventing the Pine Beetle from Killing Your Evergreens

Spring in Colorado and other Rocky Mountain States means the return of a very persistent pest called the Mountain Pine Beetle. Owners of suburban, mountain and foothills properties around Denver should be particularly worried about the Pine Beetle because Colorado is in the midst of a particularly bad infestation. The most common species of pine including Lodge Pole and Ponderosa are highly susceptible to the beetle. Property owners who do not get their trees sprayed could see a large percentage of their evergreens killed.
The pine beetle is a major threat to mountain properties because the trees it kills can increase the possibility of forest fire. The combination of beetle-killed trees and drought fueled the big fire near Boulder in March. Therefore homeowners should be on the lookout for the pine beetle and other pests such as the bark beetle. Signs of a beetle infestation can include: • Popcorn shaped masses of sap or resin on the trunks of trees. These are indications that beetles are tunneling into the trees. • The needles on pines turning brown. • Woodpeckers digging into pines. These birds like to eat the pine beetle. • Patches of missing bark which can indicate that woodpeckers have been at work. Pine Beetle Prevention People who buy or harvest firewood should be very careful because some wood could contain pine beetles. Much of the firewood sold in Colorado comes from beetle killed trees. Covering the wood with plastic and letting it dry in the sun should prevent the beetles from spreading. Other methods you can take to prevent the spread of pine beetles include: • Having a professional tree service inspect your property for the beetle. • Having trees sprayed for pine beetles this will have to be done by professionals. • Removing dead trees as soon as you notice them. • Thinning out the trees on your property to prevent the spread of the beetle. All of these tasks can be done by an experienced tree service.

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