5 Little Facts About Mountain Pine Beetles

I don’t know if it’s just me but the forests used to be full of lush green trees, even here in Wyoming.

Now it seems like 75% of the coniferous trees in the forest are red and brown and dead– thanks to a little thing called the Mountain Pine Beetle and a big epidemic that’s sweeping through some of our favorite places.

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Earlier this week I met a few awesome people from TigerTree here in Laramie.  They are doing super good things to prevent pine beetle infestations.  Since we’re obsessed with trails and mountains and forests we figured we ought to learn a thing or two about the Mountain Pine Beetle.

Here’s a few interesting facts:

  • Mountain Pine Beetles don’t just attack trees in the mountains.  They’ve made their way to cities and towns, sometimes even catching a ride into town on firewood.  Time to go check the backyard for pine beetles!
  • 2 weeks-that’s how long it takes a pine beetle to totally destroy a tree’s cambium (outer) layer.  The tree eventually starves to death.
  • Pine beetles are resistant to temperatures above -40 degrees fahrenheit.  They are hardy little suckers.
  • Pine beetles don’t just attack old, sick, dying trees.  TigerTree has seen pine beetles attack trees as small as 2.3 inches in diameter.  They play dirty.
  • Once a tree is infested it’s a goner.  Preventative spraying before the tree is attacked by pine beetles is the only proven way to keep a tree safe.  There are actually environmentally safe ways to spray trees, who would have guessed?

I’m not a Mountain Pine Beetle expert, but my friends at TigerTree are.

All I know is that I like to play outside, my biggest fear is dead tree falling on my car while I’m hiking and I hope that the forests eventually turn green again.

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