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Bark Beetles (73) More files... by Jeff Foott
In the Western North America an epidemic has decimated the forests - millions of acres of lodgepole pines have been killed off by the Mountain Pine Beetle which is the most destructive insect pest in western coniferous forests. Typically these small insects play a role in eliminating old and diseased trees from the forest which allows regeneration and increases the health of the biome. The attacking beetles carry fungus on their body which infects the trees. The fungus spreads through water-transporting vessels in the tree, preventing the flow of water to the foliage. The larvae eat the portion of the tree, the inner bark, that transports the food manufactured by the leaves. These impacts, individually or combined, cause the trees death. The balance is off - a surge in the beetle population and a reduction of the health of the forests due to drought has been a huge hit and it is unlikely the forests will recover quickly.

Beginning in 2009 the spread of the beetles has been followed, documented and attempts to stop their march have been put in place. Infected trees are cut and removed; baiting and pesticides kill the individual animals and controlled burns help in the fight. The forest service works to improve or maintain trees health and vigor by thinning, fertilizing, and monthly irrigation is the best method of protecting forest trees. This helps maintain the trees normal defense mechanism against beetles.

Jeff Foott takes us into the forests of Colorado and Wyoming to see the effect of this tiny animal's massive destructive abilities.
Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) on match  -  Jeff Foott
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00553459 Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) on match© Jeff Foott
Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) on match, Colorado
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00558841 Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) on match, Colorado© Jeff Foott
Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) biologist, Barbara Bentz, looking at specimens, Utah
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00558918 Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) biologist, Barbara Bentz, looking at specimens, Utah© Jeff Foott
Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) on hand, Colorado
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00558917 Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) on hand, Colorado© Jeff Foott
Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) research, with net around tree, Utah
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00558916 Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) research, with net around tree, Utah© Jeff Foott
Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) research, with net around tree, Utah
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00558880 Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) research, with net around tree, Utah© Jeff Foott
Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) group of dead adults on penny, Colorado
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00558919 Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) group of dead adults on penny, Colorado© Jeff Foott
Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) being pitched out by tree defense, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
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00558879 Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) being pitched out by tree defense, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming© Jeff Foott
Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) pair and larva under tree bark, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
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00558771 Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) pair and larva under tree bark, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming© Jeff Foott
Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) pupa in Lodgepole Pine (Pinus contorta), Wyoming
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00558821 Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) pupa in Lodgepole Pine (Pinus contorta), Wyoming© Jeff Foott
Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) larva under tree bark, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
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00558817 Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) larva under tree bark, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming© Jeff Foott
Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) larvae under tree bark, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
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00558819 Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) larvae under tree bark, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming© Jeff Foott
Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) larvae under tree bark, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
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00558818 Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) larvae under tree bark, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming© Jeff Foott
Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) successfully 'pitched out' by tree defense, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
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00558773 Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) successfully 'pitched out' by tree defense, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming© Jeff Foott
Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) in tunnel under bark, Colorado
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00558815 Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) in tunnel under bark, Colorado© Jeff Foott
Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) in tunnel under bark, Colorado
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00558816 Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) in tunnel under bark, Colorado© Jeff Foott
Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) dead tree, with pitch tube, killed by Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae), Yosemite National Park, California
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00593167 Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) dead tree, with pitch tube, killed by Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae), Yosemite National Park, California© Jeff Foott
Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) prevention by spraying pesticides, Grand Lake, Colorado
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00558911 Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) prevention by spraying pesticides, Grand Lake, Colorado© Jeff Foott
Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) dead tree, with pitch tube, killed by Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae), Yosemite National Park, California
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00593166 Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) dead tree, with pitch tube, killed by Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae), Yosemite National Park, California© Jeff Foott
Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) with pitch tubes trying to fight off Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae), Yosemite National Park, California
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00593157 Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) with pitch tubes trying to fight off Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae), Yosemite National Park, California© Jeff Foott
Lodgepole Pine (Pinus contorta) pitch tubes, showing where Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) attacked tree, and tree tried to pitch it out, Colorado
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00558820 Lodgepole Pine (Pinus contorta) pitch tubes, showing where Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) attacked tree, and tree tried to pitch it out, Colorado© Jeff Foott
Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) pair killed by resin, Colorado
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00558878 Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) pair killed by resin, Colorado© Jeff Foott
Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) dead tree, with pitch tube, killed by Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae), Yosemite National Park, California
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00593168 Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) dead tree, with pitch tube, killed by Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae), Yosemite National Park, California© Jeff Foott
Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) holes with boring dust created when beetles bore into bark, Colorado
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00558769 Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) holes with boring dust created when beetles bore into bark, Colorado© Jeff Foott
Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) eradication truck, Colorado
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00558913 Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) eradication truck, Colorado© Jeff Foott
Lodgepole Pine (Pinus contorta) tree with pheromone packet to deter an attack from Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae), Colorado
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00558842 Lodgepole Pine (Pinus contorta) tree with pheromone packet to deter an attack from Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae), Colorado© Jeff Foott
Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) interpretive sign, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
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00558824 Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) interpretive sign, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado© Jeff Foott
Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) area, killed trees have been removed, Colorado
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00558915 Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) area, killed trees have been removed, Colorado© Jeff Foott
Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) area, killed trees near homes have been removed, Colorado
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00558914 Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) area, killed trees near homes have been removed, Colorado© Jeff Foott
Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) dead trees killed by Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae), Yosemite National Park, California
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00593153 Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) dead trees killed by Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae), Yosemite National Park, California© Jeff Foott
Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) dead trees killed by Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae), Yosemite National Park, California
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00593160 Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) dead trees killed by Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae), Yosemite National Park, California© Jeff Foott
Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) dead trees killed by Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae), Yosemite National Park, California
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00593164 Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) dead trees killed by Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae), Yosemite National Park, California© Jeff Foott
Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) dead trees killed by Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae), Yosemite National Park, California
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00593159 Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) dead trees killed by Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae), Yosemite National Park, California© Jeff Foott
Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) dead trees killed by Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae), Yosemite National Park, California
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00593154 Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) dead trees killed by Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae), Yosemite National Park, California© Jeff Foott
Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) dead trees killed by Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae), El Capitan, Yosemite National Park, California
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00593188 Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) dead trees killed by Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae), El Capitan, Yosemite National Park, California© Jeff Foott
Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) dead trees killed by Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae), Yosemite National Park, California
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00593156 Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) dead trees killed by Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae), Yosemite National Park, California© Jeff Foott
Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) killed trees, Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada
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00593279 Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) killed trees, Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada© Jeff Foott
Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) dead trees killed by Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae), Yosemite National Park, California
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00593158 Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) dead trees killed by Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae), Yosemite National Park, California© Jeff Foott
Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) killed trees being cleared, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
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00558877 Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) killed trees being cleared, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado© Jeff Foott
Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) killed trees being cleared, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
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00558876 Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) killed trees being cleared, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado© Jeff Foott
Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) dead trees killed by Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae), Yosemite National Park, California
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00593152 Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) dead trees killed by Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae), Yosemite National Park, California© Jeff Foott
Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) area, killed trees are being removed, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
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00558825 Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) area, killed trees are being removed, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado© Jeff Foott
Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) area, killed trees are being removed, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
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00558826 Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) area, killed trees are being removed, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado© Jeff Foott
Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) area, killed trees are being removed, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
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00558827 Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) area, killed trees are being removed, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado© Jeff Foott
Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) dead tree, with blue fungus, killed by Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae), Yosemite National Park, California
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00593155 Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) dead tree, with blue fungus, killed by Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae), Yosemite National Park, California© Jeff Foott
Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) dead tree, with black fungus, killed by Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae), Yosemite National Park, California
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00593189 Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) dead tree, with black fungus, killed by Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae), Yosemite National Park, California© Jeff Foott
Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) dead trees killed by Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae), Yosemite National Park, California
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00593162 Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) dead trees killed by Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae), Yosemite National Park, California© Jeff Foott
Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) dead tree killed by Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae), Bridal Veil Falls, Yosemite National Park, California
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00593163 Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) dead tree killed by Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae), Bridal Veil Falls, Yosemite National Park, California© Jeff Foott
Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) killed Lodgepole Pine (Pinus contorta), Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
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00558843 Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) killed Lodgepole Pine (Pinus contorta), Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming© Jeff Foott
Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) killed tree, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
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00558770 Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) killed tree, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado© Jeff Foott
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