There is a massive die off of Jeffery and Ponderosa pines from bark beetles on my land...

I understand a pheremone is being used to trap the beetles. I would like to know about its availability. Also, I want to save the Jeffery pines surrounding my cabin. I have read that a drip system around the pines can help during the summer months. Any further information on this will be greatly appreciated. Also, I'd like to know if replacement saplings are available. Finally, the land here is privately owned and my cabin here is my home. I am the only permanent resident on this mountain side. My property is surrounded by dead pines (this occrred suddenly last fall when dozens of pines turned brown and died). I have written to the property owners' association and offered to help remove the dead pines. I have notified the local fire department but nothing has been done. This is particularly urgent becuse of the summer fire season. Please, any further suggestions?

Hello John,

Thank you very much for your question.  Because you cabin is in California, I reached out to an experts there to get your answer.  Kim Camilli, Forest Pest Specialist with Cal Poly/Cal Fire recommended the following: 

Here is some information for him and what he can do on his lands.  His questions on pheromone trapping, they have been used for research to attract beetles to the traps and remove them from the forest. There have been mixed results and are not yet available for the public’s use. The beetle that is probably most likely affecting the Jeffrey pine trees  are Jeffrey pine beetle . Here is some good information on how to manage for bark beetles and some on Bark Beetle in California and whether your trees are susceptible.

The best method for the landowner to  help control the beetle population on his property is to remove the trees that become infested this year. The red trees he  is seeing have been invaded by the beetle last year and the beetles are no longer in those trees and have invaded other nearby trees.  Attacks by this beetle are seen at the midtrunk of large trees from about 5 ft to 30 ft and the signs of beetle infestation are pitch tubes, small holes in the bark or boring dust. Pitch tubes are usually scattered all over the bole and successful attacks are typically reddish in color, whitish or cream colored pitch tubes may indicate unsuccessful attacks. The boring dust is reddish in color and is mixed with resin in the pitch tubes and/or bark crevices. If the tree is very stressed the tree cannot produce pitch and only boring dust may be visible.

The landowners best option for management is cultural practices. Thinning the stands would be effective and removing the newly infested trees will help in the management. If he has trees by his cabin that he wishes to save he can deep water those trees about once  a month or so by drip lines making sure at least the top foot down to two feet of soil is moist.  This will help give the trees the moisture they need and help them remain as healthy as possible and able to “pitch-out” beetle attacks.  When removing trees the landowner would want to burn or chip the pine slash to prevent Ips from invading that material and causing a problem as well.

As for replanting options the state nurseries have been closed and the main facility, L.A. Moran Reforestation Center in Davis, CA, specialized in forest tree cone and seed processing and seed bank storage and no longer producing seedlings.

I hope this information helps and let me know if there are  further questions. I ‘d be glad to help out any way that I can.

Kim Camilli

RPF# 2916

Forest Pest Specialist               

Cal Poly/Cal Fire

635 N Santa Rosa

San Luis Obispo, CA 93405

Office: 805-543-4244

Cell: 805-550-8583

Fax: 805-543-4248