How to Get Rid of Bark Beetles in Colorado
Managing bark beetles in Colorado, specifically the mountain pine beetle and spruce beetle is important for protecting forests and reducing the risk of wildfires. Bark beetle infestations can wreak havoc on healthy trees and cause them to die. Bark beetle outbreaks are hard to control but it’s important to know what to look for and how to respond.
What are Bark Beetles?
According to the Colorado State Forest Service, Spruce beetles are native bark beetles that attack Engelmann spruce in high-elevation forests in Colorado. These beetles have a one to three-year life cycle and seek new hosts in late spring and early summer. Bark beetles have small, cylindrical hard bodies and are mostly dark red, brown, or black.
Signs of Bark Beetle Infestation in Colorado Trees
The specific species of a Bark beetle infestation can be identified by the type of tree attacked and the location of the damage. For example, the mountain pine beetle is known to attack the mid-trunk of larger trees and make long J-shaped galleries. The larvae overwinter in the bark. Bark beetles feast on the inner bark of branches and trunks of trees and shrubs. Host trees will begin to turn from green to yellow to reddish brown at the crown anywhere from a month to two years from the initial attack. This is an indication of a dying tree. Inspection of the bark may show small globules of resin called pitch tubes, small exit holes throughout the bark, and reddish boring dust in the bark’s crevices or at the base of the tree trunk. Bark removal will reveal bark beetle galleries where the eggs and larvae exist in the tree.
Bark Beetle Control Tips
First, confirm the presence of bark beetles in your trees. Look for signs like pitch tubes (small, white, popcorn-like formations on the tree trunk), boring dust around the base of trees, and reddish-brown boring dust in bark crevices. Once you’ve identified infested trees, consider removing them. This is especially important for preventing the spread of beetles to healthy trees. Ensure that healthy trees are adequately watered during dry periods to help them withstand beetle attacks. Keep trees healthy through proper pruning and fertilization. In some cases, insecticides can be applied by certified professionals but it’s difficult to catch bark beetles before the damage is done. Consult with an arborist or pest control provider, like Integrated Lawn Care for advice on bark beetle management.
Colorado Tree Care and Bark Beetle Control
Concerned about bark beetles damaging your Colorado trees? Integrated Lawn Care can help. We offer preventative treatments that are strategically timed to address adult beetles before they can lay eggs in the bark. Integrated Lawn Care is a locally operated lawn care company servicing Colorado Springs, Fountain, Monument, Palmer Lake, Peyton, Security-Widefield, Black Forest, and surrounding areas. In addition to lawn care, we also offer tree and shrub services to help keep your trees healthy and strong. To learn about how to protect your trees, contact us today.