Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Pine Beetle Infestestion in the Cariboo

I love the Cariboo. It is a place rich in history and beautiful beyond description. I am told the sun shines most days of the winter even when the temperatures dip below -30C which would be a vast relief from the constant dark dull days of winter here on the coast. Nature is all around you and everywhere you look the colors are exquisite. Rich golds and yellows and browns greet the eye everywhere you turn and every now and then you get lucky as your drive down the road, window open to breathe the fresh scent from the pine tree forests that line the road, you get to see a deer or two darting through the green pine trees. Well, that was the case two years ago when I was last there, but this time the deer are darting through reddish brown dead trees thanks to the pine beetle infestation. I could not believe what I was seeing as I drove the highway. Everywhere I looked there were dead and dying trees. I cannot fathom how this will ever work itself out. They tell us that we need a deep freeze in the province in order to kill this menace off, but they also tell us that we are in a warming trend and that we are not expecting that to happen. In the meantime what are we doing? Nothing that I can see and the devastation to an area like Deka Lake is beyond belief. I took a walk around the lake with Lucy and on almost every piece of property there were stands of dead trees or people had cleared their property in an effort to prevent the trees from catching fire or from falling on their homes in a bad storm. I had to ask myself what happens on the hillsides when the snow and rain come? What will the impact on wildlife be? The beetle I am told is capable of striking other trees when it runs out of fresh pine. What will happen then?
I am deeply saddened by this and find it unthinkable that we have been unable to do anything about this incredible pest that is destroying our forests and wildlife as well as threatening the livelihoods of many northern communities.
All the way home I was saddened by the devastation that I saw out my windshield. I can only pray that we find a way to put an end to this.


  1. We have beetle problems too, but different kinds of beetles. Some people put aluminum foil wrapped around the base of their trees to try to keep them away but I'm not sure that works! Are the beetles native to that area or were they introduced at some point?

  2. The Mountain Pine Beetle is native to North America, but this is an epidemic. The beetle usually attacks unhealthy trees and is kept in check by a good cold fall freeze up when the larvae are most vulnerable. However, we have not had that happen for about 4 years and the pine beetle has now multiplied and has devastated the forests. This site http://www.dpp.scf.rncan.gc.ca/biology/introduction_e.html
    has maps of the affected areas that will give you an idea of the vastness of the epidemic.