Saturday, August 10, 2013
Unfortunately, one doesn’t have to look far to see the increasing evidence of the latest beetle to wreak havoc on our pine trees. The standing dead trees seem to be everywhere, with more visible every week. From the old giants at Jackson Park and the entrance to WalMart, to those dotting the hillsides in town and up the valley, the dry, red shapes of dead pines are easy to spot.
At a meeting on July 17 at the Mosier Grange conducted by Chet Behling of the Oregon Department of Forestry, lots of questions were answered. Sadly, the answers were not encouraging.
While beetle kill has been a fact of life in the forest, the latest culprit seems to be the California 5-spined Ips beetle. This small insect (3mm) has worked its way up from California, up the Willamette Valley, and was first reported in the Gorge in 2010. Infestations are at their worst during times of high tree stress, such as drought, following fires or wind and ice storms (such as the one we experienced in 2012) where large numbers of trees are injured. The beetles are attracted to scent from the wounded trees, and burrow into the bark chewing networks of tunnels where they lay their eggs. The mature beetles emerge in as little as two weeks to find their next victim. There are two main hatches or flights, one in July and the second in September or October. They can infest many species of pines, including ponderosa, sugar pine, western white pine, lodgepole, Monterey hybrids, and ornamentals.
The disheartening news is that, while outbreaks typically peak in one to two years, we are in Year four of this one with no relief in sight. Insecticide sprays, systemics, pheromone treatments and watering seem to have little or no preventive effect. Tree removal and pruning should be avoided until after the October flight to avoid releasing the scents that attract new beetles. Removing the dead trees between mid-October and January, while the beetles are dormant, is the safest bet. But all debris must be removed, chipped or burned to prevent reinfestation. Wood cut for firewood must be debarked.
If there is any good news, as long as there are no further fires or storms creating slash and stressed trees this year, beetle populations are expected to return to normal according Todd Murray of WSU Skamania County Extension.
Marg Guth lives in Pine Grove.
More like this story
- EXTENSION REPORT: Landowners can fight bark beetle infestation
- Small outbreaks of Ips Bark Beetles found in Gorge
- Urban logging: Crews keep busy as beetle-kill trees become neighborhood hazards
- Attack of the Bark Beetles: Fivespined Ips still a problem in Gorge
- Pine beetles killing signature Crater Lake tree
- Yesteryears: Horizon Christian ‘changing skyscape’ with new building in 2006
- Teen pleads not guilty to stabbing HR woman
- Hearings begin this week on Longview coal terminal
- White River campground closed
- EnviroGorge announces bird quiz
- Letters to the Editor for May 25
- Santa Cruz, Fetkenhour April ‘Students of the Month’
- Picard resigns from Hood River city council over STR issue
- Cascade Locks city council continuing with Nestlé plans despite passage of 14-55
- An early exit for HRV boys lax, but not a disappointment
Lawnmower torches Arbor Vitae on Portland Drive
The riding lawn mower driven by Norma Cannon overheated and made contact with dry arbor vitae owned by Lee and Norma Curtis, sending more than a dozen of the tightly-packed trees up in flames. The mower, visible at far right, was totaled. No one was injured; neighbors first kept the fire at bay with garden hoses and Westside and Hood River Fire Departments responded and doused the fire before it reached any structures. Westside Fire chief Jim Trammell, in blue shirt, directs firefighters. The video was taken by Capt. Dave Smith of Hood River Fire Department. Enlarge