Colorado – CU professor clarifies pine beetle epidemic causes

black hills epidemic at an end

Jeff Mitton, Ph.D. –  professor in the University of Colorado Boulder’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology –  came to Adolf’s Event Center & Tavern on Thursday evening, Aug. 13, to speak about the Mountain Pine Beetle epidemic as part of a reception held by CU Boulder.

The most telling causal factor is not, as is widely believed, less cold winters, but that early springs have allowed the beetles to emerge six to eight weeks early, Mitton said. As a result, they now produce two generations each summer.

“Two generations instead of one means that there’s an exponential increase in the number of beetles in the forest,” Mitton said. “That means there’s an exponential increase in the number of trees being attacked.”

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