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Blizzard to beetles: Downed trees could attract the bugs

Posted at 6:46 PM, Apr 02, 2019

COLORADO – Trees blown down by last month’s bomb cyclone are a potential threat to other nearby trees. The downed trees have high potential to attract a type of bark beetle called the Ips Beetle. “This little beetle likes to get into freshly fallen trees and green branches,” said Dave Root with Colorado State Forestry. Prevention is possible, but it needs to happen now.

“It [the beetle] becomes active about the middle of April, when the weather warms,” said Root. Reproduction in downed trees turns to adult beetles in another six to eight weeks. The new population of beetles is then a threat to young trees. “If you don’t treat the slash within eight weeks of mid-April the adult beetles are going to be out flying around possibly attacking new trees.” In Black Forest where the blizzard knocked down a lot of trees, there are also large areas of newly planted trees from recovery efforts following the Black Forest wildfire.

The best prevention is cutting off the branches of downed trees and setting them aside to dry.  Even better is grinding them into mulch.

The window of opportunity for prevention is closing fast. “It’s very short and that’s the important thing for people to understand,” said Root.