By Donna Barnett
Spruce beetle outbreaks occur throughout B.C. and usually last up to seven or eight years. These insects are native to our province and they normally feed on the inner bark of weakened or fallen trees. However, spruce beetles are quite capable of killing healthy trees under the right conditions. Warm springs, dry summers and mild winters all conspire to increase beetle populations. Unfortunately this year appears to be shaping up for a serious infestation and perhaps the worst since the 1980s. The latest aerial survey reveals nearly double the presence of spruce beetle across the province. To make matters worse, it is hard to detect infested trees because they do not display any signs of distress until 13 to 15 months after being successfully attacked.