The Scourge of Bark Beetles On Our California Forests

by / Monday, 28 August 2017 / Published in Blog

In California, and along the entire West Coast and the Rocky Mountains, the bark beetle has affected millions of acres of forest land. Although they are natives to our forests and do play a role in forest ecology, they can also cause a great deal of harm to trees. Our changing climate has been instrumental in the increase in beetle population and the drought has provided acres of vulnerable trees at their disposal. The natural beetle population is usually kept in check by the cold winter weather, however years of above average winter temperatures have allowed for the growing population of the bark beetle.

Due to our ongoing drought in California, the bark beetle has become an increasing problem. Our trees have become water starved due to drought and don’t have the nutritional reserves in order to fight these pests off. The intrusion of the tiny bark beetle has become an epidemic that has caused concern for local biologists and tree removal professionals in Palo Alto and the Bay area.

A healthy tree develops a pitch that can fight beetles. But drought weakened pines don’t have this ability. The beetles, in turn, find their way into the cambium layer of the tree. This layer is the one that carries nutrition to the entire tree structure. Once the beetles have infiltrated, they inject a fungus that inhibits sap and nutrient production.

The beetles have consequently found a place to thrive, depositing eggs under bark and injecting their fungus. As more trees are succumbing to health issues due to the stresses of drought, the beetles are killing large areas of mature pine stands. This, in turn, leaves thousands of acres of affected pines brown and fire prone.

There are chemical applications that have been used to combat the bark beetle. However, Palo Alto tree removal professionals suggest that the surest way to get rid of the beetles is removal of the entire tree.

If you are noticing these tiny beetles, about the size of a grain of rice, on your trees, it is important to call a tree removal professional in Palo Alto. A professional can assess your situation and advise you on your treatment or removal options. With the exception of increasing the vitality of the tree, little has been successful in the treatment of the bark beetle. Call the arborists and tree removal specialists at Bay Area Tree Specialists if you need professional advice on the care of any beetle ravaged trees. We will always try to save the tree first, but will want to ensure that your remaining trees are not infested. Call us today to see what can be done if you have a bark beetle problem with your trees.

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