Disposal of infested trees

The following steps will minimize the risk of damage to forests by insects or disease:

Step 1. Stand and peel

Using a knife, carefully peel the bark away from entry holes, exposing the beetles under the bark to the cold.

Step 2. Removal and disposal

Beetle infested trees are a risk to our forests. It is extremely important to remove and dispose of infested trees prior to mid-June, when mature beetles begin to emerge and fly to new trees. Beetle infested trees cannot be transported unless they are debarked. Infested bark should be chipped, burned or buried to ensure adults and larvae are destroyed.

The transport of logs and other forest products cut from coniferous trees is regulated under provincial legislation. You can read up on the legal foundation for the management of public forests in Alberta at: Forest directives and standard operating procedures.

Minimize risks

The following steps can be taken to minimize the risk of mountain pine beetles (MPBs) infesting pine trees on your property and to prevent further spread.

Monitor

MPBs fly and infest new pine trees in late summer and evidence of an infestation can be seen by fall. Trees respond to attack by producing resin (pitch) at the attack location. External evidence of an infestation will be pitch tubes and reddish sawdust around the base of the tree. Once a tree is infested with MPB the needles will turn dull green, then yellow and eventually turn red the following summer.

Maintain health

MPBs are more likely to attack older stressed pine trees. These trees may have been topped, poorly pruned, injured, root damaged or are suffering from drought.

Remove trees

You may remove or thin pine stands on your property by removing trees so the crowns do not touch. You may also want to consider diversifying your tree types to include other species of trees and age classes.

Repellents

Note: Before engaging in these activities, you may choose to consult your local tree professional. These actions can be potentially dangerous and are not guaranteed.

Verbenone can be used to help prevent attacks on pine trees. Verbenone is a naturally occurring chemical that mimics the scent beetles emit when a tree is heavily infested – this tricks beetles into believing the tree is occupied. The chemical can cause MPB to avoid attacking pine trees. Verbenone is specific to MPB and is not a pesticide. This tool is most effective when used to protect high value susceptible pine trees over a relatively small area when beetle populations are low.

The Verbenone Use Guidelines provide information to landowners, municipalities and forest managers on using verbenone for protection.

Contact

Email: for-info@gov.ab.ca