Mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) is native to the American west and periodic outbreaks of the insect are regular. The outbreaks occur across all ownerships and throughout the state, firewood transported to new areas is a common method of introducing the beetle to new or otherwise isolated areas. Spreading of the mountain pine beetle on a landscape scale occurs due to large swaths of forest being predisposed due to old age, crowding, drought or other mechanical damage. Beetle outbreak areas have historically been checked by a lack of suitable trees for feeding and harsher winters that kill overwintering insects. However, as pine beetle populations increase, they will attack large, healthy trees in great numbers, often killing them.
Evidence of a mountain pine beetle infestation on your property can be hard to spot in the early stages of an outbreak. Masses of resin produced from the tree, dust from beetle boring through the bark at the base of the tree and evidence of woodpecker activity are signs of infestation. Tyler at Willis Timberworks, a certified arborist, has a keen eye for these symptoms and will assess the situation for extent of infestation.