Boulder residents are wondering if something good could come from this bitterly cold weather, namely a decrease in the pine beetles attacking lodgepole and ponderosa pine trees.Unfortunately, the answer is no. Despite highs of 12, 3 and 10 degrees for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, the beetles will return this summer.
“It’s very unlikely that these temperatures will be cold enough to significantly affect the pine beetles,” said Tom Veblen, professor of geography at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Data collected by D.A. Leatherman, I. Aguayo, and T.M. Mehall in their report, “Mountain Pine Beetle,” determined that temperatures of at least 30 degrees below zero (Fahrenheit) must last for five days at the least in order for freezing temperatures to make an impact on the pine beetle population.
Veblen explains that the cold’s duration is necessary because the beetles are in an extreme state of dormancy during the winter, offering them great protection. Also, the recorded temperatures are vastly different from what the beetles experience.
“The temperature at the weather station is likely to be quite a bit colder (than where the beetle is,) beneath the snow and beneath the bark,” he said.
To the dismay of many, the beetles will be back.
For more information about the recent cold spell, see “Temperatures in Boulder climb back towards normal.”
Camping in Rocky Mountain National Park means time to commune with nature, relaxing around the campfire, stargazing and long hikes.
And this summer, for two of the park’s five drive-in campgrounds, it also means views. Lots of them. Great vistas that are now totally unobstructed by the trees that used to be there.
That’s the positive spin that park Superintendent Vaughn Baker tried to put on the unfortunate fact that Timber Creek and Glacier Basin campgrounds have literally been clear cut to remove trees killed by pine beetles. The campgrounds used to have plenty of shade, he said. Now they have plenty of views, but campers should provide their own shade. Read more
More than 40,000 acres of forest in Boulder County have been devastated by pine beetles — and more than 1.5 million acres across the state.
That’s a lot of dead trees. And, it seems, a lot of people are interested in using wood from beetle-kill trees for flooring, furniture and paneling. But as it turns out, it’s easier (and cheaper) to get beetle-kill wood — which has a pleasant blue stain — from other Western states with larger existing lumber industries than from Colorado.
Compared to Canada and other states with more established lumber industries, Colorado has smaller mills, fewer logging arterial roads and skinnier diameter trees. Canada beats the market in price and quantity for many reasons, including subsidy programs, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports.
The end result for Colorado is a smaller variety of finished beetle-kill wood products, higher prices and fewer finishing capabilities — like kiln-dried as opposed to air-dried. Many contractors demand kiln-dried beetle-kill wood for its resiliency. Read more
Liquefying crab and shrimp shells may block pine beetles from burrowing into pine trees and killing them. (Ummm, I was just about to suggest this as the next obvious answer to the pine beetle problem….)
That’s the word from scientists at Colorado State University, who are frustrated that the U.S. Forest Service has yet to test their golden-colored seafood serum on a large scale. (The scientists want it sprayed across the forest using airplanes. The obvious question: What would that smell like?)
The Denver Post wrote about the possible solution this week:
“We don’t find any downside to it,” said CSU microbiologist Jim Linden, one of two scientists guiding commercial production at a factory near Loveland.
Dousing healthy lodgepole pines with the gold-colored serum “certainly is part of the toolbox of ways to counteract the beetle,” Linden said. “It is inexpensive and safe.”
This is the latest of several methods scientists have proposed to try to combat proliferating pine beetles. Others advocate spraying forests with insecticides, distracting beetles with pheromones and bombarding beetles with recorded beetle sounds that can drive them to crazed self-destruction.
Did you catch that? The seafood serum has to compete with recorded beetle sounds that can drive them to crazed self-destruction. Wow, that’s a tough battle.
About a hundred people showed up Wednesday to collect water samples from streams, rivers and lakes scattered throughout Rocky Mountain National Park for the second annual WaterBlitz.
When the samples are tested, scientists at the University of Colorado hope to learn how beetle-killed trees and global warming might be affecting the park.
Read more about the WaterBlitz at DailyCamera.com or check out the video above.