The mountain pine beetle is one of the species of bark beetle. It is native to the forests which are located in western parts of North America, Mexico, and central parts of British Columbia. This creature has a hard black exoskeleton, with an estimated length of five millimeters. It is believed that the mountain pine beetle does not come out throughout the year; the reason being the effect of cold spells. Another aspect is that beetle proliferation is only encouraged during the longer breeding season. The mountain pine beetle affects pine trees by laying eggs under the bark of these trees. The beetles attack the pine tree by introducing blue stain fungus into the sapwood, stopping the tree from repelling the beetles. The fungus that the beetle introduces into the tree also blocks the circulation of water and nutrients within the tree. The tree dies after the circulation of nutrients and water is blocked. After the beetles attack a tree, they move to a different tree and attack it (Maher,et al, 2015).
There have been high rates of mountain pine beetle outbreaks recently compared to the previous years. It has affected almost forty million acres of forest. According to researchers, the increase has been caused by the climatic changes that support the life cycle of the beetle. Several techniques can be applied to manage the attacks. They include luring beetles into a trap that has a synthetic hormone that produces the scent of a female beetle, and after that, their destruction gets contained in one area. Another option is destroying the infested trees to control the spread; this can be done by burning the infested areas before the beetles attack new trees in a forest. Lastly, the beetles can be controlled through the use of pesticides (Lehman,et al, 2016).
Lehman, C. P., Rumble, M. A., Battaglia, M. A., Mills, T. R., & Asherin, L. A. (2016). Influence of mountain pine beetle epidemic on winter habitat conditions for Merriam’s turkeys: Management implications for current and future condition.
Maher, C. T., & Tobalske, C. (2015, December). The treeline as a refuge: are elevational gradients in Mountain Pine Beetle-caused mortality common in Pinus albicaulis populations at treeline?. In AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts.