Saturday, November 22, 2008

Mountain Pine Beetle Epidemic

Bark beetles are the number one predator of pine forests in the western part of the United States. They are given the name bark beetles because they are incredibly successful in reproducing in the inner bark of trees. Healthy trees put up defenses by producing resin or latex that can kill or injure attacking insects or immobilize and/or suffocate them. Under outbreak conditions with an outstanding amount of beetles, trees can however become extremely overwhelmed and die. This result can be tremendously disastrous for the lumber industry. Currently from New Mexico to British Columbia, mountain pine beetles a specific species of bark beetles are destroying the forest areas into red dust. Montana in particular has lost millions of acres of trees to these tiny insects but the situation is much worse in Colorado and Wyoming. These types of beetles inject fungus into trees and stop the sap from moving within them. These beetles are black with hard-shells and are the size of a grain of rice. Scientists believe this infestation started approximately 8 years ago. They suppose it is a result of the drought cycle and mild winters. As a result these dead forests are more susceptible to fires, erosion, and will worsen global warming. Overall scientists think there isn’t much that can be done to save the trees.

Blog Posted by: Joanne Philippeaux (10)


At 10:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where did bark beetles originate from? How many bark beetles are in outbreak conditions? Do they only do this to pine trees?


At 12:42 AM, Anonymous Allison Cornell said...

Interesting. I didn't know what purposes resin or latex had for trees. Why do scientists think they can't save the trees? Aren't any pesticides an option?

~Allison Cornell (10)

At 9:51 AM, Blogger PWH said...

It says that the infestation started about 8 years ago, but what brought the beetles here? Were they always here and for some reason weren't such a threat to the pine trees before? Why can't be save the trees? Are the scientists trying anything to kill the beetles?

-Tara Quist

At 1:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope that scientist do find a way to stop these beetles. Do they have any predators that they could introduce to the reginal areas without damaging the enviorment even more?

Mia DiFabbio

At 2:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like others have said, what brought the beetles here, and have they always been a problem in another part of the world or is this a relatively new discovery?

-Amanda Joyce-

At 7:03 PM, Blogger PWH said...

This is sad, but there has to be something they can do to stop it. I am not familiar with resin or latex in trees but is there anyway humans can supply them to the trees or do the trees have to naturally produce it. Also, there are so many pesticides and such so there has to be something to kill off these beetles.

Chantal Gomes

At 7:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All these dead trees will provide some interesting habitat changes to the areas where these trees are located. I winder if they will monitor these areas and record the changes that occur in both flora and fauna.

Allan Eldridge

At 7:17 PM, Blogger PWH said...

Just wondering what might be a method of trying to get rid of these beetles? Do you know any attempts that have been made? Also, are the beetles partial to any particular species of pine tree? What would be the benefit for killing the tree? Wouldn't it be more beneficial to kept it alive? Or do the beetles kill the tree because it was stripped of it's bark? Thank you for your post.

-Amanda Sceusa

At 7:39 PM, Blogger PWH said...

Ravishing infestations like this are usually the result of the introduction of invasives. The parasite and host species haven't had time to coevolve and the host doesn't have the necessary defenses. Do they know where the beetle originated? If it is an invasive, maybe they can introduce a predator.

Jimmy Sullivan

At 8:28 PM, Blogger PWH said...

Have the beetles been shown to target any other species of trees? I was wondering because if they eliminate their primary food source they would need to adapt to other plants. Perhaps this in time would allow the pines to reemerge.

-Benjamin Spozio

At 8:59 PM, Blogger PWH said...

I really did not think little tiny beetles can destroy the whole forest. We probably have a way to make the pine trees survive or something. Most of time human can control that stuff. I hope thing can get better. It is very interesting article.

So Jin Lee

At 9:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many bloggers have expressed a concern for stopping these beetles and saving the trees. The video remarked on the positive aspects of this epidemic: a natural process in the renewal of forests to allow for more biological diversity. Humans have been trying to thwart the processes of natural occurrences forever. It is about time that we stopped doing so. We must embrace this seemingly terrible change in the characteristics of forest in western US,

Jordan Grinstein (10)

At 9:39 PM, Blogger Dan said...

Interesting article. It was stated that the infestation of the beetles started due to a drought and mild winters, why did the drought/mild winters cause the beetles to start infesting trees?

~Dan Hong

At 10:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder how the fungus stops the sap from moving? Do they know the mechanism behind this process? Can people help by killing these beetles? It seems like a pretty serious problem if it is going to effect global warming. This seems unfortunate, I went to Montana years ago and it was beautiful because of the open spaces with nothing but trees and grass. It would be sad to see forest fires and dead trees due to these beetles.

-Julie Riley

At 11:29 PM, Blogger PWH said...

Interesting article,
I am wondering however, how have tree defenses evolved over the years? any other examples other than resin?

Ahmed Sandakli

At 11:30 PM, Blogger PWH said...

is there any natural predators of the beetle. Have they tried pesticides

Charles Scondras

At 11:32 PM, Blogger PWH said...

This is an unfortunate scenario that seems to be too common. I assume that there is some kind of pesticide spraying occuring? It sounds like it might be a situation where insects are sprayed with a pesticide but continue to multiply regardless because they become immune to the poison. What types of methods are actually being used to control this outbreak?

Posted by: Lindsay Goodyear

At 11:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How is the drought cycle and the mild winters causing these infestations? Are they normally held in check by the cold? Is it water or flooding?

-Alex Jackson

At 11:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is very interesting... even though its terrible for forests world wide...Are scientists trying to create a pesticide to control these beetles? Do you know who their predator is? Who eats these beetles? And why these predators aren't able to take care of these beetles? I hope they don't end up having to bring in an outside species to kill them because we all know that most of the time dont that makes the situation even worst.

Brena Sena

At 11:54 PM, Anonymous Jen Kodela said...

How quickly do these beetles reproduce? And how long does a generation survive? With the destruction they have already caused I would imagine that there is a huge population of bark beetles already.

At 7:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have always heard of these beetles that were awful for trees but never knew exactly what the beetles do. Are the beetles at all susceptible to pesticides or anything?

Amy Kawazoe

At 8:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there a way they can deliver mass amounts of pesticides to the trees, or is there not one available? This is very sad. Hopefully researchers can figure out a solution soon.

Michele Copeland

At 2:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is hard to believe that such small insects have the ability to cause tremendous amount of damage in forests all over America. I really hope that the scientists don't give up and try to find a way to stop these beetles from infesting all the trees and killing the forests. Do you know why the scientists feel so hopeless about this matter? What have they tried to stop these beetles before? Also I really enjoyed the video.

Tazneena Ishaque

At 2:26 PM, Blogger PWH said...

wow thats really bad, is there anything being done to stop the spread of these beetles? Maybe clearcutting and burning areas of infected trees?

-Joe Alonzo

At 1:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are these beatles indigenous to the area or were they intorduced by some outside source. If they were not recently introduced what was keeping them in check until now?

-Alex Jackson

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