B.C. is no stranger to destructive insects — the mountain pine beetle infestation has decimated forests throughout the province and nationwide.
But right now, researchers are urging the public to protect their trees from a different pest: the Douglas fir beetle.
Instances of Douglas fir beetles harming B.C., Interior forests are on the rise, particularly in the Cariboo region.
The bugs tend to attack dying trees impacted by wildfires or drought, but when populations increase, they go after healthy forests.
Because they usually start eating the trees in the early summer, the Industrial Forestry Service, one of the larger natural resource consulting firms in B.C., suggests the public start spraying their trees with special repellent now.
“It’s spreading pretty quickly” IFS researcher Serena Black told CBC.
Though there are multiple ways to deal with Douglas fir beetles, Black recommends property owners use MCH repellent, which replicates the beetles’ pheromones to signal to other bugs that the tree is full, and there isn’t enough food for more bugs to join.
The repellent protects individual trees which, Black says, works well for people on rural or suburban properties who want to prevent an infestation.
However, this only works if the repellent is applied in a very precise time frame — two weeks before the beetle moves in on trees.