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Michigan officials take steps to protect pine trees from devastating invasive mountain pine beetle

‘Michiganders traveling out West should not transport firewood’ officials say

Mountain Pine Beetle
Mountain Pine Beetle (National Park Service)

LANSING, Mich. – Steps are being taken to protect Michigan’s pine trees from the mountain pine beetle.

The mountain pine beetle is a destructive forest pest in North America. It’s known for outbreaks that have killed millions of pine trees in the western United States and Canada.

“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 Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) Director Gary McDowell. “Many of us remember the havoc wreaked by emerald ash borer. This new quarantine and restrictions are working to ensure similar devastation following the introduction of a non-native pest doesn’t happen again.”

The 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 states.

The states include Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and the Canadian provinces of Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan.

READ: More invasive species coverage

What is a mountain pine beetle?

Mountain pine beetles is an insect native to the forests of western North America and is also known as the Black Hills beetle or the Rocky Mountain pine beetle.

The beetles affect pine trees by laying eggs under the bark and introducing a blue stain fungus. The action of larval feeding and fungal colonization kills the host tree within a few weeks.

As the beetle populations increase, or as more trees become stressed because of drought or other causes, the beetle population can quickly increase and spread.

The mountain pine beetle has been expanding its range by moving northward and eastward. The expansion is attributed to warmer winters.

Michigan’s pine resources are at risk of attack by MPB, including white pine, jack pine, red pine, Austrian pine, and Scots pine.

“Michiganders traveling out West should not transport firewood or untreated pine from states with known infestations,” added McDowell.

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