MPB not a threat in County

The Mountain Pine Beetle seems to be sweeping its way through some parts of Alberta. The pine beetle has not been a threat to Ponoka yet and although Ponoka County is not anticipating a problem, they are aware that damage could happen.

The Mountain Pine Beetle seems to be sweeping its way through some parts of Alberta. The pine beetle has not been a threat to Ponoka yet and although Ponoka County is not anticipating a problem, they are aware that damage could happen.

Shayne Steffen manager of agricultural services for Ponoka County believes that if the pine beetle comes to the County that it may cause minimal damage.

“The Mountain Pine Beetle (MPB) is a threat to Pine species. It deposits a fungus (blue stain) inside the tree that cuts off water and nutrient movement causing the Pine tree to turn orange and die.  This is especially devastating to the timber industry,” said Steffen. “Pine beetle is a native species and has been around for a long time. The pine beetle if it gets here may cause damage to older pine stands or shelterbelts. At this time we could assist ratepayers in identifying MPB damage. If MPB is found we would recommend destroying (cutting and burning) all Pine infected with MPB.  I don’t know of any incidents in Ponoka County.”

Although the pine beetle doesn’t pose much of a danger to the County there are still measures that people can take to make sure that they are not affected and, if they are, to deal with the problem.

“Ponoka County is not in a threat area, however people with pine should monitor their trees for signs of pine beetle attacks,” said Steffen. “The provincial government is funding a control program aimed at the hard to hit areas mostly along the eastern slopes, foothills, and Peace country.”

Ponoka County has not received any funding at this time as the threat is minimal.

Alberta plans to spend a little more than $55 million this year to help stop the pine beetle from spreading across the province. The province is looking to remove as many trees that are infested with the pine beetle as possible before they fly to new trees in July.