A beetle, no larger than a grain of rice, the tiny mountain pine beetle, has already destroyed 15 years of log supplies in British Columbia and they are now chomping their way through forest in Alberta and other parts of the Pacific Northwest. The number of trees that have already been destroyed is equal to the number of trees needed to build nearly 9 million single-family homes. Sadly, similar pests are threatening to devour more trees in North America and are already destroying supplies in parts of Europe. The bugs are thriving as climate change warms winters that would normally keep them at bay, destroying a swath of the world’s timber supplies. That may eventually spur shortages for the global housing market. Right now, lumber prices are soaring to record highs thanks to a surge in pent-up repair, brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Caroline Whitehouse, a forest health specialist for the province of Alberta, says that ‘squashing the bugs is no easy feat.’ Currently, Whitehouse’s team is on the ground searching out pines that are oozing a creamy, reddish resin to confirm the beetles have bored into the bark and overwhelmed their host. To stop the spread of the pest Whitehouse says that the infected trees are cut down with chainsaws and then they are chopped into bits and burned with fuel to destroy any chance the larvae could spread.
FEA compiles the Wood Markets News from various 3rd party sources to provide readers with the latest news impacting forest product markets. Opinions or views expressed in these articles do not necessarily represent those of FEA.