Colorado’s Forests and the Pine Beetle Epidemic

This is far and away the best video about the beetle epidemic that we’ve seen.

“If the tree is beautifully healthy an enormous flow of resin will push it out, foresters’s says it’sbeing pitched out, pitch tossing the beetle out that is the natural defense of the tree,” said Jeff Mitton professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at CU – Boulder.

If a tree is healthy there are documented cases of it pitching out two thousand beetles. On the flipside, struggling, drought stressed trees have been documented being killed by as few as a couple dozen beetles according to Mitton.

This current beetle epidemic is 10 times larger than the second largest in history.

Mitton said that the bark beetle lifecycle has really changed. Two to three decades ago the bark beetle started coming out July and then stopped around the second or third week of August. The offspring would get out at about the same time. Mitton’s team found that bark beetles are starting much much earlier.

They caught the first beetles in 2010 on May 22 and the last beetles September 20. That means the season is twice as long as to used to be.

Also offspring are emerging within two months not 12 months later like they used to be.

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