Mountain pine beetles pose a serious threat to Alberta's forests.

Mountain pine beetles are attacking the province's pine trees. Left unmanaged, MPB could devastate Alberta's pine forests and spread eastward across Canada's boreal region.

Here you will find information on everything from beetle biology to what is being done to manage the infestation in the province.

Beetle Fact

The mountain pine beetle is a member of the bark beetle family and is the most damaging insect pest of pine trees in western North America.

Feature Stories

Beetle Facts - Mountain Pine Beetle in Alberta

What is the mountain pine beetle?

The Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins is a small bark beetle about 4.0-7.5 mm in length. Commonly known as the mountain pine beetle (MPB), it is the most destructive pest of mature pine forests in North America.

When beetle populations are small, they prefer stressed, mature or over-mature (80+ years) pine. As populations grow, any pine over 12.5 centimetres in diameter can be killed - even healthy trees.

They are capable of attacking and killing all species of pine including:

  • lodgepole
  • jack
  • ponderosa
  • whitebark
  • limber
  • Scots
Cold Fact

The temperature at which beetles start to die is not fixed, but varies given the larvae's response to daily temperature fluctuations.

MPB kills pine trees by clogging and destroying the conductive tissue of the tree by introducing a blue-stain fungi when attacking the tree. Its larvae feed in the phloem of the tree. The action of blue-stain fungi and larval feeding can kill the tree within one month of the attack.

Publications - Mountain Pine Beetle in Alberta

Printable Information Cards

The Verbenone Use Guidelines document provides information to landowners, municipalities and forest managers on using verbenone for mountain pine beetle protection. Verbenone is a semiochemical that acts as an anti-aggregation pheromone to mountain pine beetle.