tiny mountain pine beetle, (dentroctonus pondersae) is about the size
a grain of rice and lives under the bark of mostly pine trees. They favor
Lodgepole, Ponderosa, and Western White Pine. As the beetles feed under
the bark, they cut off nutrients and water to the tree. Beetles bring
fungi that break down the sugars in sap and give it the blue stain. The
tree dies with no apparent degradation to the wood. The dead trees are
susceptible to bugs and rot within 2-3 years. The mountain pine
beetle has affected millions of acres of forest in Montana and throughout
Although the beetle
kills the tree, the wood
is not affected, and is actually enhanced with the “blue-stained”
appearance that results from a fungi carried by the beetles. The wood
has no holes or rot in it, and the fungus leaves only the blue stain.
Removal of the dead
trees and processing the wood does not spread the beetle. By the time
we harvest the trees, the beetles have moved on to live trees.