Mountain Pine Beetle in Leduc County

The mountain pine beetle is a small, black beetle about the size of a grain of rice. For several years, mountain pine beetles have been expanding east into Alberta from British Columbia. Recently, there have been reports that Mountain Pine Beetle (MPB) has expanded its range. Three locations have been confirmed within Leduc County's boundaries.

What type of trees may be attacked?

Mountain pine beetles attack and kill pine trees, usually mature ones aged 80 to 120 years old. All species of pine, including lodgepole, jack pine, scots pine and ponderosa pine are vulnerable. Mountain pine beetles do not attack aspen, spruce or fir trees.

When do beetles attack trees and how long do they stay in trees?

Beetles fly in search of new trees in July and August. Once a beetle has found a suitable tree, it will live in that tree for the remainder of its life and lay eggs. The new generation of beetles will not emerge from the tree for at least one year.

If my tree is attacked, will it die?

Trees successfully attacked by mountain pine beetles usually die within one year; however, if the beetle has made an attempt to enter the tree but is “pitched out” without completing reproduction it may survive.

How can I tell if my trees have been attacked?

Look for creamy globs that look like crystallised honey, called pitch tubes, and sawdust at the base of the tree and in the bark’s crevices.

What do I do if my tree is infested?

Scout out the pine trees on your property, wrap survey tape around each tree that has been attacked. It is recommended that a tree with more than 40 pitch tubes be removed. In the winter months, trees can be sold and transported to sawmills and debarked on their site. Other options include hiring an arborist with a chipper to come onto your property and leave the material on-site or burn the mass attacked trees.

How can Leduc County help?

Leduc County staff will provide identification of the mountain pine beetle so control measures can be put in place. Early detection and control by residents plays an important role in managing Alberta’s MPB infestation and preventing further spread. This pest is not registered under the Provincial Agricultural Pest Act.

More information on the Mountain Pine Beetle can be found on the Alberta Agriculture and Forestry website.

If you suspect a Mountain Pine Beetle infestation on your property, please contact Heather Dickau, Horticulturist, at heatherm@leduc-county.com or call 780-770-9271.