Mountain Pine Beetle Still Active in South Okanagan

March 23, 2015

By: Kelowna Now

The devastation caused by the little mountain pine beetle is on the decline, but there are some areas in the South Okanagan that are still feeling the affects of this pesky insect.

“We have had little mountain pine beetle activity in the past few years as it has collapsed throughout much of our region. There are still a few areas where it is active and even a few spots in the South Okanagan,” said Lorraine Maclauchlan from the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations.

A total of 51,804 hectares were affected, down from 63,102 hectares in 2013. Here in the Central Okanagan, effects of the mountain pine beetle has decreased significantly, but attacks remain widespread across much of the Kootenay Lake, Cranbrook, Invermere, and Arrow timber supply areas (TSAs).

According to the 2014 Overview of Forest Health Conditions in Southern British Columbia, the area affected in the South Okanagan boundary TSA increased by 20 per cent, this percentage now accounts for nearly half of all mapped mountain pine beetle attack.

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Photo credit: 2014 Overview of Forest Health Conditions.

Over 80 per cent of effected timber stands in southern B.C., read the report.

Although the mountain pine beetle is on the decline here in Central Okanagan, Maclauchlan said the red tinge seen from the Okanagan Connector might be from another wood eating beetle. Moving on into the Okanagan, it appears the Western Balsam Bark Beetle has made this region home.

According to the report, bark beetle action in the Kamloops and Okanagan regions has increased by over 56,000 hectares to 228,810 hectares. Okanagan and Kamloops TSAS account for over 70 per cent of all mapped areas, however; attack intensity was typically low.

The bark beetle attacks and kills subalpine fir, and as the spring season marches on, more information regarding wood eating beetles will come to light, explained Maclauchlan.

By: Kelowna Now

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