Bark Beetle Invasion

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Colorado Springs city foresters are warning people about bark beetles. This year’s dry winter is creating ideal conditions for the bugs to thrive and kill trees. They also say the only way to save your trees is prevention.

Since the drought began, the city alone has lost 1,100 large spruce trees. And conditions are right for another bad summer.

It's an oddity of nature that these tiny creatures can take down a majestic 80-foot spruce. But because of the dry conditions, that’s exactly what's happening. "They are opportunists. They go for stressed trees and we have so many stressed trees in the landscape right now---its a feeding frenzy for them," says city forester Darrel Pearson.

Right now, Spruce Beetles are active. But soon, Elm Beetles will join the feast. "In May they are going to start to emerge and they are going to start feeding on American Elms and Siberian Elms," says Pearson.

There are several signs that could indicate your trees are being attacked by beetles. A spruce will begin get brown from the top down. If you have a spruce or an elm, you may notice small holes in the bark where the beetles exit the tree.

But Pearson says, if you see these signs, it's already too late. "You are past the point of no return. There are no curative pesticides to kill beetles once they are inside the tree, so the whole idea is prevention."

So what can a homeowner do? Pearson says you can go to a nursery and buy the preventative sprays to protect your spruce and elm trees. But you have to cover every inch of the tree and, in most cases, the tree is just too big. So that means hiring a professional tree service to do it for you.