Douglas fir trees in Salmon Arm face attack from bark beetle

Online pamphlet can help residents learn how to protect their trees

The Douglas-fir beetle makes this kind of damage under the bark of fir trees. (Government of B.C. image)

Douglas fir trees in Salmon Arm are under attack.

In a letter dated April 27, resident Brenda Dyck wrote to Salmon Arm Council regarding the increasing numbers of trees the Douglas fir bark beetle has attacked or is attacking in the area.

A registered forest technologist, Dyck pointed out that most mature conifers in yards and greenways within the city limits are Douglas Fir.

“While small endemic populations of this beetle are common in the area, increased attack usually results in death of mature trees. In residential areas this can present costly and dangerous removal, pose a safety hazard and/or fire hazard if left standing, not to mention trauma for folks who value mature landscaping within yards and greenways…,” she wrote.

“I know the beetles are boring away at trees along, for instance, 20th Ave. NE to Highway #1 and up along 30th St. NE as I’m writing this letter.”

She also said her family has seen fir bark beetle damage spreading on Crown land on the east side of Mount Ida, bordering on city limits and local farms.

Read more: 2019 – Douglas-fir beetle infestation is a provincial crisis: B.C. expert

Read more: Shuswap residents urged to ensure their yard isn’t what spreads a wildfire

Dyck said there are pheromones that can be placed on trees to deter the beetle from attacking. She suggested the city provide information and possibly even the pheromone repellents to the public.

B.C’s Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development offers educational material such as ‘A Guide to Managing Douglas-fir Beetles on Private Property.

In a follow-up conversation on May 20, Dyck said the bulk of the beetles have already taken flight, which they usually do depending on temperatures in mid- to late-April. They head off to find preferred trees but a lesser flight could take place in July.

Nicole Jeans-Williams, the proprietor of ForHealth Consulting in Salmon Arm, is a forest pest management consultant who has worked in the field of bark beetle pheromones.

When the forest district was still in Salmon Arm, she worked on what she describes as a huge fir-beetle trapping project following the Silver Creek fire of 1998. The purpose was to protect standing fir that was still green but had been scarred by fire.

She said the destruction of the fir beetle can be now be seen in several places in the Shuswap.

“If you’re looking up from your boat in Blind Bay or Sunnybrae or out towards Sicamous along that stretch, you will see patches of red trees; at this time of year it’s most likely fir beetle. That would have been trees that were attacked last season.”

Read more: 2019 – B.C. forests ministry tracks Douglas fir beetle outbreak

Read more: Taking a stand against Douglas-fir beetle in Shuswap’s South Canoe trails

Along with adding the pheromone packets to trees before the beetles take flight, other protections include cleaning up blow-downs and making sure you’re not bringing fresh or recently killed firewood onto your property.

“A green downed tree is very attractive to the beetles,” she said.

In Salmon Arm, she estimated the beetles have been flying since early May so the pheromone packets won’t be as effective.

While fir beetles have always been present in Salmon Arm and the Shuswap, they tend to take advantage of the years when there is drought, fire-scarred trees or wind throw, Jeans-Williams said.

“I think we’re seeing a combination of all three.”

Coun. Tim Lavery has been following the initiatives to reduce wildfire fuels in and around Salmon Arm for city council. He will be reporting back in reference to suggestions in Dyck’s letter, probably at council’s Monday, May 25 meeting.


marthawickett@saobserver.net
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Salmon Arm

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nine new COVID-19 cases announced in Interior Health region

The total number of cases since the pandemic started is now at 531 for the region

Two ways to celebrate Business Excellence Awards this Saturday in Penticton

Chamber offers in-person and virtual options to congratulate business and community leaders

South Okanagan businesses surveyed on impact of COVID-19 during summer

Hospitality businesses are being asked to fill out a questionnaire

RCMP seeking witnesses to fatal Peachland motorcycle crash on Highway 97

One person died following a motorcycle crash south of Peachland on Sunday afternoon

Out of character for Okanagan woman to go missing

Karee Lynn Kamis, 64, was last seen in Penticton on Sept. 18

Weekend sees 267 cases, 3 deaths in B.C.; Dr. Henry says events leading to COVID spread

There are currently 1,302 active cases in B.C., while 3,372 people are under public health monitoring

Lightning strike: Tampa Bay blanks Dallas 2-0 to win Stanley Cup

Hedman wins Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP

16 MLAs retiring from B.C. politics add up to $20M in pensions: Taxpayers Federation

Taxpayers pay $4 for every dollar MLAs contribute to their pensions

Motorcycle rider identified following fatal crash in Peachland

Michael Odenbach died in a motorcycle collision on Sept. 27

Liberals seek to fast track new COVID-19 aid bill after CERB expires

Government secured NDP support for legislation by hiking amount of benefits by $100 to $500 per week

B.C. VOTES 2020: Echoes of HST in B.C. debate over sales tax

Cannabis, tobacco, luxury cars still taxed in B.C. Liberal plan

Shuswap BC SPCA launches spay/neuter program for low-income residents

Program available to low-income residents in the region

More victims possible in Okanagan assault case

Vernon police have a man in custody but feel there could be more victims in the case

Most Read