“Do yourself and your neighbors a favor by surveying your property and removing damaged tree material in order to protect healthy trees,” said Parks Supervisor & Arborist, Kurt Wolf.

Due to the heavy wet snow we received in December lots of trees were damaged and this could lead to a major problem with bark beetles this coming summer.  All the broken trees will be a prime food supply for certain bark beetles.  If the bark beetle attacks the broken tree and nothing is done to treat the beetle this could lead to a higher population of the beetles and more trees will be effected.


The first one to appear will most likely be the one that attacks Douglas-fir (or commonly call red fir) as the bark beetle emerges typically the first part of May.  This insect will either attack a standing tree or those that are lying on the ground from wind throw or snow damage.  The life cycle of this beetle is one year under the bark so the next generation will not emerge until May 2017.


The second and possibly most destructive bark beetle is the Ips pine (or Pine Engraver) that attacks Ponderosa pine.  This beetle emerges from the ground typically mid May looking for Ponderosa pine lying on the ground.  The life cycle of this beetle is only three weeks so the next generation that emerges can attack live trees or the tops of larger pine trees.


Treatment methods for the bark beetle vary but the most effective is removing the snow damaged tree right after snow melt and before the beetle attacks.  One can determine a successful attack by looking for little piles of frass or sawdust on the larger portion of the tree lying on the ground.  Once the frass is observed removal of the material is critical especially with the Ponderosa pine as the Ips bark beetle second generation will emerge within six weeks looking for a new food supply.  With the Douglas-fir beetle it will stay under the bark for a one year period before the next generation appears so timing for the removal is longer.


As mentioned above the best treatment of the snow damaged material is to survey your property either before or soon after snow melt then you need to remove the material.  Treatment of the downed material may include chipping, hauling the material to the county landfill or the Woody Debris dumpsters (located at each Fire Dept. when they are set up), or cutting the material for firewood.  Do not pile any firewood chunks up against live trees as when the bark beetles emerge they can attack the standing tree.


Written by:  John Lillehaug (Forester & Chair of the McCall Tree Committee)
Reviewed and approved by:  McCall Tree Committee and City Arborist

McCall Tree Committee Members: 

  • John Lillehaug (Chair) – Forester with the State of Idaho – Private Forest Specialist (IDL)
  • Richard ‘Whitey’ Rehberg – Forester & Timber Sales Contracting Officer – US Forest Service Payette National Forest
  • Nathan Todd – McCall Donnelly School District – Maintenance
  • Randy Acker – Acker Tree Service – Owner
  • Pavla Clouser – Ginko Landscaping – Owner
  • Kurt Wolf – Certified Arborist / City Parks Supervisor / City Arborist & Liaison for Tree Committee

For more information please contact Parks Supervisor & Arborist, Kurt Wolf@208-634-8967