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Pine Beetle

Tim Wilson

LawnSite Senior Member
Quackgrass; In the other thread I was also confused about whether you were discussing pine beetle or some other insect and tree species. So what is it?
What area are you in? From what you say it sounds like an interior region. I did not think pine beetles are a big problem near the coast(?)(maybe excepting Vancouver Island) What species of pine are you dealing with?

I live in the interior of BC and I kinda think the pine beetle problem attacking Lodge Pole Pine (Jackpine) originated in the central interior of BC and has spread from there. We had some problem on our property in the early 90s but we logged off the infected trees and pretty much stopped the advance. [grossed $95K] So far we don't have trouble with other insects, I believe because of the large diversity of tree species of our forest.

You mentioned that the monoculture of pine is the cause. I so agree with this but I saw a culprit other than control of forest fires. A long time ago huge blocks were clear cut by large logging companies. Besides the fact that no thought was given to supportive undergrowth and mycorrhizal mushrooms in those days, the huge tracts were replanted in monocultures of Lodgepole pine (Jackpine) which the loggers knew grew fairly quickly, were suited to the 2X4/X6 industry, were cheap to remove and if they got infected by pine beetle no government stumpage fees would be applied. Crafty. BTW I personally witnessed a whole lot of these replanted areas as I traveled the back roads extensively in the late 60s/early 70s.

Since those days the government has wised up and mandates diversity species reforesting.

Now we see pine beetles attacking Ponderosa pine. I'm unsure if this is a new species of beetle or the other adapting to a new tree species. Do you know about this?

Personally, I really like beetle killed wood. It has beautiful blue and green grain running through it. If I build a new house, that is what I'll mill my wood from.
 

quackgrass

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
North West
Sorry for the delay!
Anyway, I work in the rockies just South of the Canadian border, The current mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) which means "killer of ponderosa" is the same one that hit this area in the late 70's early 80's. It loves most pines so Lodgepole, scotch, white, austrian, etc. are all on the menu. If you saw axmen last night the guy ate a huge longhorned beetle and thought it was the pine beetle which is the size of a grain of rice!

Outbreaks of this insect are as natural as the rain or wind but we also can speculate that the severity has been increased because of fire suppression and as you mentioned poor logging practices.

It could also be effected by temperature increases and drought conditions, but what we think seems to change as fast as the bug adapts!

Most people I deal with think the Forest Service should be fighting it in the wild as if it were an invasive species because they don't realize its a natural part of the forest.

There isn't currently a method to kill beetles on a large scale in the forest setting because an aerial insecticide application gets caught in the canopy and the beetles only attack the trunk. But thats probably a blessing untill people realize that this is natural and all the dead trees will decompose and condition the soil for the next generation of trees to come up healthier and more naturally.

I am sympathetic to people wanting to save key landscape trees, but we need to find a better solution than spraying the whole trunk with a high pressure gun. (A typical tree uses a couple ounces of insecticide (Bifenthrin at 23%AI) mixed with 5 gallons of water. (0.06 solution) for example. The manor in how it is applied causes excessive drift and contamination to things around it.

Injecting insecticides has not proven effective because the beetle lives its life just under the bark in the phloem layer and an injection stays in the xylem which is too deep for the beetle to encounter.

A new method using a systemic insecticide (safari) has shown promise when combined with the surfactant pentra-bark. This application is typically made with a back pack sprayer to the bottom 5 feet of the trunk. Still not perfect, but better.

Other methods such as pheromone tell the beetle to move on because the tree is already occupied, but this isn't very effective since the beetle will still opt to attack the tree if it can't find an unoccupied one nearby. This may reduce beetle kill by 30% at first which over the course of an outbreak is an impossible game of Russian roulette, especially in later years when a huge beetle population is faced with a few trees to attack.

Another option under study is the Chitosan product which stimulates up to a 40% increase in sap flow. This helps smother a portion of the larvae but it isn't effective at killing them all (each beetle has hundreds of eggs) It doesn't prevent the beetle from girdling the tree and vectoring in the blue stain fungus which is a food source to the beetle. Its like sourdough culture they pass on from generation to generation. After they mature, hundreds and thousands of beetles come out of the dead trees and over the course of about three months they attack their next host tree in droves. Once the tree is girdled and the blue stain has clogged the vascular system it dies.

Chitosan is currently about $1 per application and ideally you would treat three times a year so say $3 in product. That doesn't sound like much but it adds up over all the trees (and years) so most people will save that money and use it to spray more trees until something closer to 90-100% effective arrives.

Chitosan could be the start of our answer, but its too early to know exactly what its capabilities are in conjunction with other methods. I'm involved with a research group that is looking at a few long shot options.
 
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Tim Wilson

LawnSite Senior Member
Thanks for that. So it is basically the same insect attacking varied pine species. I guess lodgepole was the favorite first choice then Ponderosa. I sure hope it does not hit here. I have thought about hauling loads of bug killed pine here to mill up into a new timber shape I have in mind for affordable housing but I'm concerned about bringing the problem to this local. Is this a concern? Once the tree is dead, is there any chance of hatch from it?
 

quackgrass

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
North West
Thanks for that. So it is basically the same insect attacking varied pine species. I guess lodgepole was the favorite first choice then Ponderosa. I sure hope it does not hit here. I have thought about hauling loads of bug killed pine here to mill up into a new timber shape I have in mind for affordable housing but I'm concerned about bringing the problem to this local. Is this a concern? Once the tree is dead, is there any chance of hatch from it?
The beetles will hatch out of the trees the following summer, July through September, after that you can do what you wish with it.

A young canadian scientist found a unique use for bluestain wood, that is past its prime as viable lumber. Apparently the fungus causes the wood to bind with concrete so it can be chipped and mixed for a strong but lightweight concrete you can cut with a hand saw.

http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=46052
 

ICT Bill

LawnSite Platinum Member
Location
Howard County MD
Thanks for that. So it is basically the same insect attacking varied pine species. I guess lodgepole was the favorite first choice then Ponderosa. I sure hope it does not hit here. I have thought about hauling loads of bug killed pine here to mill up into a new timber shape I have in mind for affordable housing but I'm concerned about bringing the problem to this local. Is this a concern? Once the tree is dead, is there any chance of hatch from it?
Yes that is why you cannot move the lumber from its habitat, it is against the law

same with ash trees from the emarald ash borer and so many others unfortunately
 
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Tim Wilson

LawnSite Senior Member
Yes that is why you cannot move the lumber from its habitat, it is against the law
Not bug killed pine. It is shipped all over the world, including logs for log homes in Japan. When the tree dies, the bugs leave it as Quack has said, from July to September.
 

ICT Bill

LawnSite Platinum Member
Location
Howard County MD
When I lived in colorado you could not move it very far and had to cover the pine logs with black plastic for a season in order to kill off the larvae

maybe different pine beetle
 
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