Preventing Pine Beetle Problem

By: Katherine Cook
By: Katherine Cook

They may be tiny, but pine beetles are doing some major damage all across Colorado, leaving a trail of dead trees in their path. Now Colorado Springs city officials say if residents are not careful, that dead bark could become a dangerous problem in Southern Colorado. The pine or bark beetles as they're also called, spread so quickly, tree experts say once a beetle gets into the bark, the tree is as good as dead. City Forester Jim McGannon says this year, the conditions are perfect for pine beetles to thrive in.
"The dead trees-- their food source, the weather, that's what it takes," said McGannon.
What it takes to multiply the tic-tac sized pine beetles by the millions. It's why McGannan has a no tolerance policy when it comes to the bugs spreading in Colorado Springs.
"The bark beetles that attack the ponderosa pine... we condemn those trees for immediate removal."
McGannon says the tree's stumps must be ground and branches chipped in order to kill the beetles and their breeding source. He adds beetle-infested timber may also be burned but only as soon as it is cut. He says it should never be stored as firewood since the beetles may continue to spread. McGannon estimates over the last 5 years, only 10-20 bug-infested trees have been removed from the city, crediting beetle prevention like spraying and tree health. For more information, call the Colorado Springs City Forester at 385-5942.

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