Spruce Beetles on the Rampage, again.

Dendroctonus  (conifer) bark beetles are on the rampage again in the U.S. 

In the late 90’s and early 00’s, southern pine beetle and mountain pine beetle each killed billions of pines in the southeastern U.S and western U.S and Canada, respectively.  In turn, western pine beetle killed millions of trees in California in the 10’s.   Now, spruce beetle populations are exploding in the spruce forests in the Rocky Mountains and Alaska. In just two years (2017 & 2018), spruce beetle has infested nearly 1 million acres in south central Alaska.

What are we doing about it?

In response to this outbreak, Arborjet attended a workshop that was held by the Alaskan Cooperative Extension Service on April 26 in Anchorage, where we presented and discussed our research and trials. The workshop -Protecting trees from spruce beetle–provided the latest information on pesticide products and application.  Speakers and organizers included Chris Fettig (Research Entomologist w US Forest Service-Pacific South West Research Station, Davis, CA), Don Grosman (Technology Advancement Manager & Entomologist, Arborjet Inc, Woburn MA), Jason Moan (Forest Health Program w/Alaska Dept. of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry, Anchorage AK), Jessie Moan (Statewide Integrated Pest Management Technician w/ Univ. of Alaska-Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service, Anchorage AK) and Elizabeth Graham (Entomologist with US Forest Service-Forest Health Protection, Juneau, AK).  Nearly 60 people attended to learn about the recent history of spruce beetle in South central AK (Jason Moan), standard tree protection options for bark beetles (Chris Fettig), and recent advancements in the use of systemic insecticides and fungicides against bark beetles (Don Grosman).   Participants also had the opportunity to see a tree injection demonstration.


Research trials established.  

A number of trials have been completed on various conifer bark beetles, including Mountain and Western Pine Beetle, Ips Ingraver Beetle, and Spruce Beetle.

New trials for Spruce Beetle on White Spruce were initiated in June 2018 and April 2019 in the Nelchina Public Use Area near Palmer AK and at the UAF Matanuska Experiment Farm near Palmer, AK.



Recommended treatments. 

A trunk injection of TREE-äge®, TREE-äge® G4, and TREE-age® R10 will provide up to two years of protection from spruce beetle damage. Preventive treatment is best, as trees with existing beetle infestations are unlikely to survive. As Spruce Beetles carry the blue stain fungus, it is recommended that a systemic fungicide such as Propizol® be added as a sequential treatment to eliminate additional stress from the fungus.

To learn more visit: Conifer Bark Beetles

Learn more about Spruce Beetle, here.

Happy Bug Hunting!