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October 27, 2017 11:50 pm

Region under attack by Spruce Beetle

Friday, March 11, 2016 @ 10:31 AM


Red spots on map  show infestation in Omineca region,  while  purple shows  where  attacks have already  turned  forests grey – map courtesy BC Gov’t)

Prince George, B.C.- The latest threat to B.C.’s forests is the Spruce Beetle and it is  an epidemic.

As the region  continues  to try and recover  from the devastation  of the mountain pine beetle,  comes a new a threat.    It is the Spruce Beetle.

An adult spruce beetle ranges from 4-7 mm in length,  about the same length as a grain of rice.

(at right,  a Spruce Beetle -image courtesy BC Government)

As of January 2016, the most serious spruce beetle infestation in  the province is  occurring in the eastern valleys of the Mackenzie Timber Supply Arebeetlea and in the northern portions of the Prince George Timber Supply Area.

The current infestation has affected 156,000 hectares of forest in the Omineca region, specifically the eastern valleys of the Mackenzie timber supply area and northern portions of the Prince George timber supply area. This is a significant increase from the 7,653 hectares affected in 2013 and is the largest spruce beetle outbreak since the 1980s.

“My riding is significantly impacted by the Spruce beetle” says MLA  Mike Morris “Mackenzie is totally reliant on the forest industry, Prince George is, a big part  of our economy in Prince George is based on forestry as well.  A lot of these trees  are  mid-term timber supply,  so I think it’s important we do everything we can right now to nip this in the bud or as close as we can, so we can make sure our licensees can continue logging  and supplying our local mills for years to come.  Our forests are not only valuable for the timber,  but   trappers rely on a mature forest and ( so does) the hunting and guide outfitting business.  There are a lot of other industries out there that are reliant  on a healthy forest eco-system.”

The province has announced it has set aside $1 million dollars  for the  new fiscal year to deal with the  infestation.  Last year, the Province spent $850 thousand  on this matter.

The infestation is  the result of a perfect storm,  with  warmer winters, drier summers and wind storms which  results in more blowdowns.  “When the summer is dry,  trees  are not at their optimum health, they are more susceptible to infestations” says Heather Wiebe, resource manager in the Mackenzie Natural Resource District.  She has been named  as the spruce beetle manager  to develop a regional spruce beetle management plan.

Wiebe will be forming a public advisory committee that will work with stakeholders, communities and First Nations to develop that regional plan.

There are already  some mitigation efforts underway says Weibe, one method  uses what are called ‘trap trees’ ” The Spruce Beetle’s favourite food is a very large spruce that’s been blown down in the  forest, they are usually   large in diameter and in the shade.  Then the beetles populate that entire  underside of that tree, and it gives them the best food source and best protection in the habitat.  What we do is we mimic that natural blow down  in the forest  by cutting down a healthy tree and we’ll  allow the  beetles to populate  in high amounts in those trees  and those trees are then timely removed and milled quickly through a hot milling process,  and through the  milling process  it will kill the adults and the larvae that are living in   the log, and that will  help bring down the population numbers”.  There are more than 2,000 hectares of land right now where the ‘trap tree’ process is being used.

The Chief Forester is monitoring the situation to help ensure a balance between maintaining the mid-term timber supply, requirements of other resource values, such as wildlife habitat and the need for control of the spruce beetle.


The trap trees will work just like the trap trees worked for the pine beetle. IT WONT. Big waist of government resources using trap trees (money and people), The only thing that will stop a epidemic is weather and or fire. Since it probably wont get cold anytime soon I say let the Wildfire management Branch set a prescribed burn and fix the problem once and for all.

    The biology and behaviour of pine beetle are very different from spruce beetle. Trap trees were never considered as an option for pine beetle, but they work well for spruce beetle because it prefers down trees, while the pine beetle only attacks standing trees. Trap trees and logging of infested stands will work reasonably well for the spruce beetle.

Good news is the government is at least trying to be proactive unlike a previous government during the height of the pine beetle infestation

    I agree, glad to see we have an MLA who is knowledgeable and has a stake in the area.

    seriously your full of yourself. changing the requirements as to where the logs can be hauled had absolutely nothing to do with it??? Pine beetles blowing out from here to QUESNEL. You must be one of those LNG dreamers.

The next reason to decimate the bush and over cut because the beetles are coming.

    they aren’t coming, they are here.

They wait till its to late to do anything. All along Connaught Hill there is huge ANT Hills that are filled with big brown ANTS and every year there is more, its out of control. The City used to keep them under control but now its not their problem.

The warmer winters bring them on, pine beetle, fir beetle and spruce beetle, you can cut bait trees have been doing this with the fir beetle for 25 years but just keeps spreading. With fire suppression to protect lands and communities and prevention on cutting old growth mother nature will come up other measures. More has to be done on new planting and the species selected as weather changes the same old may not be the best. In the past 300 years you can see were areas were pine and fir then Cedar taken over. Then Cedar areas replaced with Pine and Fir or Spruce. Need more science and people on the ground, cant use computers and simulations for everything. Will be interesting in the next 5 years.

I saw a few down at Hub City Motors but they are a different color than the one in the picture.

The huge spruce beetle infestation of the Upper Bowron in the late 70’s and 80’s should have taught us how to deal with this problem, and certainly should have taught us not to let this situation get out of hand.

Seems we didn’t learn from our past mistakes. There is already a huge portion of this timber that has turned grey. (Purple coloring on map). This means that the beetles have been in that area for a number of years.

If you look up **Spruce Beetle infestation of the Upper Bowron** you will see what happens when these beetles get a head start. At one time they were hauling 700 truckloads of timber a day out of the Bowron to try and kill off this infestation.

Have we gone to sleep on this file, and are we now going to get serious about the problem. $1 Million dollars to deal with this issue is a joke.

Those 700 truck loads a day also scattered the beetles all over the country side. Its called seeding.

If the NDP were responsible for the pine beetles then the BC Libs must be responsible for this infestation. When the crap hits the fan, just triple delete and all will be well again.

    Having worked in the forest health field through the 80’s, 90’s and 00’s, my observation is that the Socreds, NDP, and Liberals all devoted a lot of resources to beetle management. Any assertion that the NDP somehow were less diligent in this area is nonsense. Some problems can’t be solved by throwing money at them, and the pine beetle epidemic in the central interior was one of those problems.

    TRIPLE delete is up on charges from the RCMP and last time I looked he was working for the LIEBRALS!!

canislupus—I have to agree with you. I do not think you could have done anything about this. Change in weather patterns etc. No more -45 below for an extended time. We have had plenty of time to deal with this problem and yet they have moved to Alberta also.

A whole million dollars…that isn’t going to go very far….
maybe it isn’t supposed to?

That million dollars is for Mikes fuel allowance.

“warm winters and dry summers…” those are the same conditions that contribute to record numbers of forest fires. Between those forest fires and these spruce beetles our forests are really taking a hit.

“warmer winters and drier summers” also contributed to the mountain pine beetle epidemic, I think I see a pattern here that we might just have to get used to.

    Agree JG . We need botanists to figure out what should be planted in their stead . Hopefully thIs will be a wake up call .


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