Article : Pine Beetle Attacking Colorado Neighborhoods

Pine Beetle Attacking Colorado Neighborhoods

A blight on Colorado's high country since 1996, mountain pine beetles have begun an accelerated infestation into Front Range urban areas.
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The Mountain Pine Beetle has damaged 3.6 million acres of trees in the high country of Colorado and Wyoming. Now the beetles are starting to attack trees in neighborhoods in metropolitan areas.

“If the attack is abundant enough, if there’s enough beetles to overtake trees they can do it in less than a year, easily,” said Craig Little of the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado.

Up and down the Front Range, the Mountain Pine Beetle is chewing its way through trees, mostly Scotch and Ponderosa Pine.

“We see it everywhere from Ft. Collins to all the way down to the Springs,” Little said.

And it’s now expanded its species selection, putting other trees on the menu, including a variety of pines that make for beautiful landscapes in the city.

Some property owners have lost trees that are about 200 years old.

“It really hurts when you lose one that’s a trophy tree like that,” said home owner Howard Rose.

“People in the high country have gotten used to recognizing the damage done by a pine beetle, but residents in the metro may not know what to look for. You want to keep an eye open for this sort of pop corn like manifestation,” Little said.

The beetles usually attack the trunk of the tree about 10 to 15 feet above the ground, but you can fight back.

“There are trunk applications that you can do with synthetic insecticides,” Little said.

You can also use pheromone patches and crushed crestation shells that improve the tree’s natural defenses.

Little says, "And then there's also a new product that's actually an injection in to the tree."

But you have to act fast.

Once you start seeing the first signs of damage the Mountain Pine Beetle can destroy it in six months to a year.

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June 26, 2016, 6:31 pm EST

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