Presence of mountain pine beetles more evident on northern Front Range

June 7, 2011

If you saw red when visiting the northern Front Range foothills over the past few weekends, you’re not alone.

Compared to past years, many more ponderosa and lodgepole pines along Colorado’s northern Front Range have faded to red and yellow in recent months, said Sky Stephens, forest entomologist for the Colorado State Forest Service. She said the visible patches of dying trees in the Poudre and Big Thompson canyons, along the Peak to Peak Highway and near U.S. Highway 287 north of Fort Collins are a reflection of the increase in local mountain pine beetle activity over the past few years.

“People living along the Front Range don’t have to drive as far as they used to before they run into beetle infestation,” Stephens said. She said that infested lodgepole pines tend to be redder in color, while ponderosa pines appear more yellow.

Based on 2010 aerial detection surveys by the CSFS and U.S. Forest Service, mountain pine beetle activity in lower-elevation stands of ponderosa pine on the Front Range increased more than tenfold from the previous year. Most of this activity was observed in Larimer and Boulder counties, where infestations were mapped on 181,000 and 36,000 acres of ponderosa pine forest, respectively. Nearly 3.2 million acres in Colorado have been impacted by mountain pine beetles since the first signs of outbreak in 1996.
Landowners who want to prevent the beetles from spreading to healthy trees must act soon, as emerging adults typically depart dying trees to infest new hosts starting in early July. While there is no effective treatment available to save trees already infested by mountain pine beetles, Stephens said landowners can apply preventive treatments to non-infested trees and kill late-stage larvae and pre-emergent adults in dead or dying trees through management measures.

“Landowners who are considering treatments should contact their nearest Colorado State Forest Service district office to discuss the most effective options,” Stephens said.

Explore further: Complex dynamics underlie bark beetle eruptions

Related Stories

Complex dynamics underlie bark beetle eruptions

June 2, 2008

Forest management that favors single tree species and climate change are just two of the critical factors making forests throughout western North America more susceptible to infestation by bark beetles, according to an article ...

Insects continue to threaten forests across Colorado

February 16, 2011

( -- Although the mountain pine beetle epidemic has largely run its course in north-central Colorado, insect and disease activity continued to stress the state’s forests in 2010.

Mountain pine beetle marching east from Alberta

April 4, 2011

A University of Alberta-led research team has determined that the mountain pine beetle has invaded jack pine forests in Alberta, opening up the possibility for an infestation that could stretch across the Prairies and keep ...

Storing seeds for a rainy day -- or in this case, a fire

May 31, 2011

As mountain pine beetles march across the forests of western North America, these insects may kill millions of pine trees during a single outbreak. A rise in overall temperatures over the past several years has increased ...

Recommended for you

'Hog-nosed rat' discovered in Indonesia

October 6, 2015

Museum of Natural Science Curator of Mammals Jake Esselstyn at Louisiana State University and his international collaborators have discovered a new genus and species on a remote, mountainous island in Indonesia. This new ...

Stress in adolescence prepares rats for future challenges

October 5, 2015

Rats exposed to frequent physical, social, and predatory stress during adolescence solved problems and foraged more efficiently under high-threat conditions in adulthood compared with rats that developed without stress, according ...

Most EU nations seek to bar GM crops

October 4, 2015

Nineteen of the 28 EU member states have applied to keep genetically modified crops out of all or part of their territory, the bloc's executive arm said Sunday, the deadline for opting out of new European legislation on GM ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.