Posted: Jun 17, 2013 8:50 PM by Dennis Bragg - MTN News
HAMILTON - Crews are back at work this week spraying trees to try to limit the spread of the mountain pine beetles around some of the most popular recreation areas on the Bitterroot National Forest.
It's an expensive, yet effective way to counter the invading forces of the mountain pine beetle, since spraying down trees to keep them safe from infestation.
Bitterroot National Forest managers are once again using the product known as Carbaryl to treat the forest around popular recreation sites like Lake Como, Rombo and Alta campgrounds to protect the trees from infestation and eventual death.
"Six sites, 1,800 trees. A pretty laborious process as you can imagine, having to go from tree-to-tree and spray all the way up to the top with Carbaryl. It's good for about 18 months," explained Bitterroot National Forest spokesperson Tod McKay.
This is the third year crews are using Carbaryl at the National Forest sites on the Bitterroot. Crews will also be tacking some trees with Verbanone patches which use pheromones to drive away migrating beetles.
The products have a low environmental impact, but can be 99% to 100% effective in protecting trees for a year.
"The campgrounds and the sites that we spray will be closed for one to two days. The stuff dries pretty quick. We're talking a few hours it's going to be dry. But we'll leave them closed for about 24-hours just to make sure that everything is good," McKay explained.
This process isn't cheap as it will cost $25,000 to treat 1,800 trees this season. But forest managers consider that a worthwhile investment to protect high-use areas.
Managers also say it's necessary insurance, since beetle numbers may be dropping at some locations in the Northern Rockies, but the Bitterroot Valley remains a hot spot.
"Here in the Bitterroot that's not really the case. I think a lot of the migration is that they're here in the Bitterroot now. So I think the time is pretty critical. And our specialists tell us it's critical that the work needs to be done now," McKay said.