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Moths damaging thousands of acres of trees around Cheyenne Mountain

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COLORADO SPRINGS -

Nearly 5,000 acres of conifer trees on and around Cheyenne Mountain on Colorado Springs southwest side have turned brown in just the past few weeks. “They were live green trees and suddenly, boom they’re brown, said Colorado Springs Staff Forester, Dennis Will. He says an infestation of Douglas-Fir Tussock Moths and Western Spruce Budworms is happening. “”The population’s been here for at least three years, just not at epidemic levels.”

Larvae from the two types of moths have been eating the needles from the trees. It leaves many nearly bare. The trees can survive being stripped for one or two years, but if it continues longer trees will likely die. “That can create a fire hazard, not to mention flood hazards from heavy rains, wildlife habitat, watershed damage,” said Will.

There is discussion under way to decide if the outbreak area should be sprayed to kill the bugs. Areas impacted include National Forest, State Forest, Colorado Springs Parks property, and several private properties including the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, and Seven Falls.

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