The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is working to protect Michigan’s pine trees from a potentially devastating pest: the mountain pine beetle. One of the most destructive forest pests in North America, it is known for outbreaks that have killed millions of pine trees in the western United States and Canada.
According to MDARD Director Gary McDowell, “Mountain pine beetle hasn’t been detected in Michigan yet, but we’re taking the necessary, proactive steps to ensure our pine resources are here for generations to come,” said McDowell. The state’s new “Mountain Pine Beetle Exterior State Quarantine” regulates the movement of pine forest products with bark including logs, stumps, branches, lumber and firewood originating from a number of impacted western states.
The beetles affect pine trees by laying eggs under the bark and introducing a blue stain fungus. The joint action of larval feeding and fungal colonization kills the host tree within a few weeks of successful attack. As beetle populations increase, or as more trees become stressed because of drought or other causes, the beetle population may quickly increase and spread.
Mountain pine beetle has expanded its range, moving northward and eastward. The expansion is attributed to warmer winters, which allow more beetles to survive. Michigan’s pine resources are at risk of attack, including white pine, jack pine, red pine, Austrian pine, and Scots pine. Learn more about the quarantine here.