Bent Tree Property Owners’ Association, Inc.

Web edition of special mailing 12 June 2006





Our BENT TREE forest continues to face a serious bark beetle problem.  The mountain pine beetle (MPB) will ravage our forest if not contained.  If, after reading this information, you would like one of our tree monitors to inspect your property with you, call me at 719-488-3667 and we will have one of our monitors contact you to set up a convenient meeting time.


As you may or may not know our BTPOA Covenants and the County require that all dead or dying trees must be removed no later than july 15th of the current year.  it is recommended that diseased trees be removed within 10 days of the needles turning brown.  Last year’s mild winter has resulted in a much larger population of MPB and IPS beetles in Bent Tree and Woodmoor. 


MPB’s are the most damaging forest insects in the Western USA.  Successful MPB attacks produce popcorn-looking tubes on the bark of the tree where they have bored in to lay their eggs.  Infested Trees that are drought and/or mistletoe stressed are not able to produce enough pitch to protect themselves from the attacks.  The beetle eggs will become larvae and begin to tunnel or make galleries under the bark.  They will also spread a blue stain fungus that plugs up the water-conducting cells in the xylem tissue.  This activitity kills most trees.  Then from early June to October 1st, mature beetles will exit from these trees to find new trees to infest and continue their one-year life cycle.  if left uncontrolled, the population of beetles in one tree will infest and kill two similarly-sized trees over the next year.


As a general rule of thumb, the needles of infested pine trees with more than five hits will turn brown before this June.  MPB can live out their cycle in trees with dead needles and in logs cut from the trees.  You CANNOT assume that dead trees or logs from infested trees cannot infest other nearby live trees.  As a general rule, the beetles from one untreated dead or live tree will emerge this June and July, attack, and kill two similarly sized trees.


We have two important suggestions: 


First, if you have standing dead trees, look for pitch tubes and remove sections of the bark to determine if MPB or other beetles killed them.  If you find any live adult beetles, eggs or larvae, you must dispose of the trees in such a way that these insects cannot infest other trees.


Second, carefully examine all the green pine trees on your property to see if you have any pitch tubes.  If your dead trees(s) were killed by MPB, there is a good chance that the trees around them may be infested.  If you find dead trees or green trees with pitch tubes on your neighbor’s property, closely examine your nearest trees for possible MPB. 


The IPS engraver beetle has many of the same characteristics as the MPB.  It may not produce pitch tubes, but only a course brown dust on the gound and in the bark scales nearest the boring holes.  Normally, the IPS beetles attack smaller and weaker trees.  They also kill branches on healthy trees.  We are finding this year that IPS is being attracted to the same trees as MPB.  IPS have four reproduction cycles of beetles each year, and has a different control stratecy than MPB.


I strongly urge you to have a knowledgeable person look at your green or live trees to determine if they have fresh beetle attacks.  Please do this before you remove your dead tree(s), because it might affect when the dead tree(s) should be removed.  One of our Tree Monitors is available to help you.  If your green trees have fresh beetle attacks, they can give you the best recommendations on preventing their spread to other trees.


Please do not ignore these suggestions if you want to protect yours and your neighbor’s live trees. 


You can also contact the Colorado State Forest Service at 687-2921, or the El Paso County Forestry Office at 529-7656, or a private consulting forester for help and advice.  You need a trained person to verify the presence and identification of the beetles.  By identifying them now, you have more flexibility in properly disposing of them by June.


We want to protect our Bent Tree forest and help you protect the value of your property.  If you want our help, please call me, John Anderson, at 488-3667.