Tree Spraying Mountain Pine Beetles

May 16th, 2014 by admin No comments »

In April several tree services in Colorado, will be tree spraying for mountain pine beetle continuing through June.

When hiring a beetle spraying company, make sure they are registered applicators in the state of Colorado. Please take time to verify there credentials as wildlife, water quality and soil quality all depend on your making the right decision.

Tree Services Cost Calculator

One thing we’ve noticed about tree services is that the costing can be surprising to a new customer.  So we’ve developed a tree services cost calculator for you to get ball park estimates on how much tree removal, tree spraying or trimming costs.

Feedback will be appreciated and we have back-loaded the update schedule so you should see rapid improvements as we gauge what exactly you need in a tree service cost calculation. Thanks in advance for trying it out.


Other IPS Beetle and Ash Borer Notes

A major threat to ash, spruce and pine trees are the ash borer and ips beetles. We group these together because the spraying regimen is nearly identical so you can save money by having ash and spruce trees sprayed at the same time. These nasty little insects tear your lovely tree to pieces leaving only a skeleton in its place.

Fortunately, this can be prevented by using a protective spray, that stops the beetles from destroying your tree.

Unfortunately, if you decide not to lay down a protective spray and your tree becomes infected your local arborist will not be able to help you and your tree will become a victim of the beetles. This is because there is currently no protective sprays that defend against a tree already infested by ips or ash borer beetles.

If you own one of these tree kinds of trees there are many reasons why laying down a protective spray could be right for you! People do tree preservation for the following reasons,

  1. Aesthetic Appeal – These insects attack trees that may provide a certain beauty to many homes that can’t be replaced for many years.
  2. Cost savings- depending on the size and location of your tree having it cut down and removing the stump can cost thousands of dollars.
  3. Protect your home and property- A tree that has been attacked by these insects is a standing corpse that is hazardous. This is because it could easily fall or catch on fire risking the surrounding property.
  4. Prevent infestation- If your tree is not sprayed it can become home to thousands of insects that spread to other trees in the area causing massive tree loss.
  5. Ugly scars- If your tree is infected it can be left with large open woods in the trunk or large branches being killed off. Ruining the trees natural appeal and leaving a disfigured tree in its wake.

Ips beetles in Colorado and ash borer beetles usually attack newly planted or distressed trees that have root damage.

So if your tree is less-than-perfect, then an application of a preventative insecticide is the only way to be 100% percent sure the the tree will not become infested.

Keep in mind that most urban spruce and ash trees are degraded in some way.

Tree spraying when done by qualified professionals is completely safe and will not harm the tree, surrounding plants, ground water or your family. This is simply not true when unqualified professionals and amateurs do the job.

MPB 2013 Year in Review

January 16th, 2014 by admin No comments »

The Huffington Post listed pine trees as one of the biggest losers of 2013,

“Pine Trees — Warmer weather allowed the mountain pine beetle to continue to gorge itself on Western forests. It’s just one of the many plagues that climate change is visiting upon the globe.”

2013 appeared to be a light year overall for mountain pine beetle mostly because all the target pine trees in Colorado and British Columbia are already dead. However, temperatures were colder in the High Rockies in winter 2013 so that may have been a temporary reprieve.

The Bitterroot Mountains in Montana and The Black Hills in South Dakota were two exceptions, with MPB continuing to pound pine forests in 2013.  Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado also continued to see heavy activity especially along the northern edges of the park.

Eastward Canadian Expansion

The biggest emerging issue for MPB is it’s gradual expansion into the North American boreal forests in Alberta and Ontario. While central BC is treated as already happening, the Canadian research and timber organizations earmarked $4 million in 2013 to continue to map the beetle’s genome. Pine tree genomes and the blue stain fungus are also genomes that have been mapped. The goal is to see how beetles handle extreme cold while overwintering.

>>> Get free quotes on your next tree service from HomeAdvisor

The boreal forest is a band of pine, spruce and evergreen trees that circle the Norther Hemisphere. MPB is not native to these forests so botanists and entymologists fret that it will be a feeding frenzy if they are established. The boreal is a major source of oxygen for the planet, second only to the rainforests  and a significant MPB could move through all of it.

Wildfire and Beetle Kill

Whether beetle killed pine trees contribute to more forest fires is not as intuitive as it appears. Even if the pine beetle didn’t exist, warmer temperatures would dry out forests causing larger fires. The tinder left over from years of putting out forest fires also would exist.

The flammable sap in mature, green pine forests feeds more intense crown fires then dead pine trees. And it is more explosive. Juniper shrubs and trees are especially flammable and are not recommended to be too close to a home located in areas with high forest fire risk.

Of course, mountain pine beetle does exist and certainly creates more tinder on the forest floor. The bigger issue is the general drought in the West.  Mountain pine beetle is native to Colorado and can live in equilibrium with pine forests. It’s the dry conditions caused by warmer winters which causes mountain pine beetle to explode.

Residential Pine Tree Owners Should Keep Up Treatments

Even with pine beetle easing up in forests, it is still a threat to urban and suburban tree owners. It is recommended to keep treating high-profile pine trees, keep them watered as rising temperatures make them more prone to drought and fertilize if the tree needs extra nutrients.


The Official Biggest Losers of 2013 – Huffpost

UNBC continues to tap into pine beetle funding

Black Hills, SD Beetle Kill

July 29th, 2013 by admin No comments »

July 29, 2013 – Rapid City , SD

Pictures we took on an excursion through the Black Hills. Red trees indicate attacks that occurred last year, 2012


Forestry officials in the area have conducted extensive spraying operations the past few years to protect high-profile trees in and around Rushmore and other tourist destinations.


Trees close to state highways will from a falling hazard and should keep removal crews busy for quite some time.





Mountain Pine Beetle in The News

June 20th, 2013 by admin No comments »

June 24, 2013

Pine Bark Beetle in Pine Bluffs, Wyo. … HE IS HERE – June 13, 2013 – Pine Bluffs Post 

Mountain pine beetle outlook “bad to worse” for Black Hills– June 16, 2013 – NBC Rapid City, SD

“It’s (MPB) popping up in some areas, fading away a little bit more in others,” Ball said. “There’s people in the southern (Black) hills, won’t see as much of it and people in the northern hills are gonna see a lot more of it.”

US Forest Service to cut hazardous trees north of Red Feather Lakes, CO – June 12, 2013 Loveland Reporter-Herald

“U.S. Forest Service officials will close areas in the Lost Lake and Chicken Park areas north of Red Feather Lakes, both popular for dispersed camping, as crews cut hazardous trees that were killed by mountain pine beetle.”

Chainsaws and research key to winning pine beetle battle in Alberta – May 31, 2013 Edmonton Journal

“On the front lines of Alberta’s war against the mountain pine beetle, the weapons are chainsaws and biological data.”

June 20, 2013

MPB Slows in Colorado   – Lack of fuel in target pine trees, other factors

Poised to Ravage Eastern Canada    – April 4th, 2013.

MPB June News Updates from Mont. from June 2013.  Also a story about BC MPB from May.

How about on your end?

Palmer Drought Index

June 20th, 2013 by admin No comments »

June 15th, 2013

Palmer Drought Index –

Montana/Bitterroot National Forest Update

The Wake of the Beetle

December 13th, 2012 by admin No comments »

by Matt Johnson – December 13th , 2012.

Chapter 5 of Empire of the Beetle is mostly a recap of how stupid we are in trying to control this slow moving tsunami which is the bark beetle epidemic. The inevitable
fallout for mill towns, built on a mono-economy and a mono-culture (lodgepoles), is predictable.

Ghost Forest further explores what I feel is an even greater threat then the loss of the lodgepole forest which is the loss of the five-needled whitebark pines, a keystone species of western forests that protects the ecosystem along the Continental Divide. The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem worsens even more quickly for whitebark then Nikiforuk predicted a scant two years ago.

MPB’s assault on sub-alpine whitebark pines is dramatic because it kills “rare 800 year-old elders, not 100 year veterans (trees).”

Whitebark grow where most pine and spruce can’t. They also store more carbon then a lodgepole pine.

Quoting Chapter 6,

“The generous tree glues together the alpine world…for thousands of years the Lillooet, Blackfoot, Shuswap, Kootenay and shoshone harvested the (whitebark) pines large, high-energy seeds.”

Luckily there is some happy news when analyzing the Song of the Beetle. The story of avant-garde musician turned beetle researcher David Dunn uses high quality microphones to record the clicking sounds of the ips beetle initially. Nikiforuk organizes his book well in that each chapter focuses on a particualr bark beetle and a particular forest.

>>> Get free quotes on your next tree service from HomeAdvisor

In the Song of the Beetle chapter, the pinyon pine takes center stage in the scrubby pinyon and juniper forests of New Mexico. The scene is the desolate Sangre De Cristo mountains outside Sante Fe, N.M.

Ips confusus has alighted in a fury on these forests since 2003. However, Dunn and colleagues discover and demonstrate that, a bark beetle is confused by digital recordings of its own song perhaps leading to the type of advanced interdisciplinary solutions that the bark beetle problems require.

Conclusion: Overall I highly recommend this book as the most readable account of specifically the bark beetle and more broadly a moving account of small things that are causing big problems.

Lodge Pole Tsunami

December 3rd, 2012 by admin No comments »

Picture links to Science News Coverage of Bark Beetles

Empire of the Beetle becomes suspenseful as entymologists, politcos and timber barons see if the MPB, the short name for mountain pine beetle,  will jump to the boreal forest’s of Alberta.

With no known mountain pine beetle infestations, conifers in the boreal do not have resistance to MPB.   Resin development is crucial for a pine tree to survive.  Lodgepoles produce terpenes, natural chemicals that were used to make turpentine, to give off an unwelcoming scent.

This chapter of Empire of the Beetle, has this  nugget,

“British Columbia’s lodgepole forests being so ancient and ubiquitous,  most aboriginal groups have bark beetle stories.”

and continues later,

” Over the last hundred years, average minimum temperature in central BC have increased by nearly six degrees on the Fahrenheit scale.”

Researcher Allan Carroll mined data to discover that in BC, the last  -40 degree winter day had not occurred since the 1980’s and beetle habitat had shifted north over the past thirty years, according to the book

The human element comes in as timber companies were given incentive through higher levels of allowable cut so companies could salvage dead beetle kill.  This “one time opportunity to capture the economic value made hauling green beetle kill all over the province,” economically viable. But it also helped spread the beetle.

Government sold beetle kill for 25 cents per tree. It had been twenty five dollars per tree.

Scientific Forestry Comes to the Fore

German forests were the first test plot for planned and managed forests. the grand goal of eradicating bark beetle starts early, with Johann Friedrich Gmelin who wrote in 1787,

“No pests have ever done so much harm to the woodlands as the bark beetle.”

Spruce beetle (ips typographus) were the main bark beetle targeted in the German forests.

German foresters tried to

  • smoke beetles with sulfur
  • electrify beetles

But extensive logging became the chosen option. They quickly learned that clear cutting and setting trap trees, piles of 50 to 100 spruce trees placed in five or so different piles to attract the beetles, only created more wind blown trees which are the natural nursery for spruce bark beetles.

Read the final post in this review called Wake of the Beetle

Empire of the Beetle – Book Review

December 3rd, 2012 by admin No comments »

Empire of the beetle book cover

Empire of the Beetle

How Human Folly and a Tiny Bug Are Killing North America’s Great Forests

Published by Greystone Books, 2011

Reviewed by Matt Johnson – December 3rd, 2012.

Some books are so good, they make me wonder why I’m trying to write my own popular tree care articles.  If there is an action packed arborist book, Empire of the Beetle by Andrew Nikiforuk, is it.  I’m only through the first chapter and already the spruce beetle has decimated the boreal forest in Alaska and the Yukon.  Lives are lost, communities uprooted but the mystery remains. (editor notes – I finished the book , see at the end for updates)

Why are twenty-first-century bark beetles so aggressive and destructive?  Empire of the Beetle paints an obsessive portrait of entymologists trying to answer that question. In describing Stephen L. Wood, the author of the bible on bark beetles and longtime professor at Brigham Young University, Nikiforuk writes

“Wood left behind a collection of 80,000 bark beetles carefully pinned to the bases of 181 specimen drawers for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. (Beetle experts tend to be a bit obsessive)”

But the part about Diana Six of the University of Montana is really interesting especially her research on yeasts.   Nikiforuk writes about her research into the co dependent nature of bark beetles and fungi. It also dispels the blue stain fungi as tree killer myth.

Bark beetles carry scores of:
  • fungi
  • mites
  • ticks
  • yeasts
  • nematodes and bacteria.

The chapter clearly explains the symbiotic relationship with the beetle and beneficial fungi.

“The spruce bark beetle (dendroctonus rufipennis) for example, up to 10 different species of fungi,” writes Nikiforuk.

The beetle stores different types of fungi to prepare for either a warm or cold winter. You’ll have to get Empire of the Beetle from your library or check out Amazon for details.

Updated 12/3/2012:

The whole book was clearly written.

The appearance of dendroctonus ponderosae aka mountain pine beetle is where the real sap-shed gets going.

Read the rest of my review atLodgepole Tsunami

Palmer Drought Index – Sept 11th, 2012

September 12th, 2012 by admin No comments »

9/12/2012 - Fall rain hopefully helping!!!

Northeast Washington 2012 Beetle Hotspots

August 16th, 2012 by admin No comments »

Northeast Washington - MPB In Gree

Spokane, Wash.  Source  Forest Service