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Important Pine Beetle Information

Photos and text by Sandy Lindquist

Question: What are a mountain pine beetle’s best friends?

Answer: Denial and Delay (NOT that river in Egypt and NOT that former congressman!).

Unfortunately, it’s no joke. They’re here, and they’re all over the Estes Valley. Although this year’s new larvae currently are comfortably maturing under the bark of healthy looking, green-needled trees, you still can be proactively getting rid of those trees obviously infested or already killed. As one of the local “Beetle Buster” volunteer inspectors, here are just two examples of the proliferation I’ve seen this fall in our Valley’s ponderosa population.

A). One-acre, open forested property with 12 previously killed trees (obvious fully brown-needled), 33 NEW fatal attacks (green-needled but full of visually-subtle pitch tubes that are harboring new beetles), and another 12 new tested-but-likely-survivors (green-needled but with just several beetle-free pitch tubes each). That’s a fatal proliferation rate of 3-4 x.

B). Another stunning property with a contiguous roadside cluster of 7-8 huge green-needled ponderosas, each trunk covered with new pitch tubes – wherein last year only two nearby trees there had one-pitch-tube test each. You might call that anywhere from 4-8 x proliferation.

If ever you were going to get some help looking at your trees, the time is now. And if ever you were going to start practicing mitigation methods, the time is Spring of 2011. I’ve seen trees as small as 3”-4” diameters successfully attacked, and stand-alone trees attacked as well as clusters. Unfortunately, we need continued diligence on an annual basis for the foreseeable future.

In case you still need convincing of this encroachment, check color photo comparisons of RMNP’s Horseshoe Park along the Fall River between 2007 and 2010 as well as Farview Curve.

© 2014 Estes Park News, Inc

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