Mountain pine beetle populations began rapidly expanding in the Arkansas River Valley in 1995. About 300 acres of mostly Ponderosa pine trees showed the effects of the mountain pine beetle except in the Twin Lakes area where the Lodgepole pines were affected. The affects have continued to expand through the Ponderosa pines from Buena Vista south to Highway 50. In 1998 with up to 5000 acres showing the beetle activity mostly in the Squaw Creek area the USDA Forest Service, USDI Bureau of Land Management and the Colorado State Forest Service joined together to evaluate and address the problem. With a plan to mark and remove attacked trees then take the infected logs to mills or a treatment site has been the best objective. With people preventing the old forests to naturally burn in wild fires it is believed that the trees weakened from mistletoe infestation, poor soil from construction or pollution, drought or lightning and has allowed these beetles to expand more than its natural enemies like woodpeckers, birds, flies and wasps can keep them in balance. Mountain pine beetles fly from tree to tree sometime between July 10th and September 10th. They lay their eggs after burrowing into the tree trunk where you may see signs of pine pitch seeping out of the bark (the trees defense against the beetle) or sawdust piles at the base of the tree. You can find the larvae living under the bark. The Summit County infestation became evident from 2002 to 2004. Homeowners can protect their trees by hiring a certified pesticide applicator professional to spray each tree before the new beetle flying season. The brown/orange pine needles on the evergreen trees show the after effects of the mountain pine beetle.
|Lake Dillon and Lodge Pole Pines by Frisco|
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