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Helena’s actions about the engraver beetle-damaged trees



Helena, Montana – On Wednesday, Brad Langsather, manager of Helena Open Lands, identified dead or dying Douglas firs on the north face of Mount Helena.

He can spot trees with a destructive beetle infestation with great accuracy.

Healthy Ponderosa Pines predominate toward the bottom of the mountain.

With their distinctive reddish-brown needles, more dead and dying Doug Firs become visible as you get closer to the peak.

Who’s at fault? The Engraver Beetle of Douglas Fir. An entirely devoted insect to Douglas Firs.

The epidemic began in 2017 following a rainy spring storm. The beetles were able to flourish due to the environment.

“It created habitat for the engraver beetle. Engraver beetles’ population started to rise then we saw a couple drought years in the early 2020’s and the beetle then started attacking seemingly healthy trees,” says Langsather.

Pheromone capsules were installed by the city last spring in an attempt to stop the beetles from causing more harm. While some of the capsules functioned as planned, others did not.

The thousands of affected trees should be cleared as the next step. On Mount Helena, Langsather and his crew will be spraying between 2,000 and 3,000 Douglas Firs.

After that, they’ll hold off on cutting them down until spring.

The trees will be stacked and burned once they have been chopped down. In a sense, the city has been compelled to complete the harm caused by the beetles.

However, if they are left in place, they will deteriorate and become a threat to trail users as well as a greater chance of a disastrous fire on the mountain.

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