I probably should have written this a month ago… but, hey, I didn’t. What can I say? LIFE is crazy.
With all the grasshoppers, drought conditions, and all the rest of the world going crazy, this came along and surprised us with something new. I’ve said for years that our forests are just T-H-I-S close to burning down due to all the dead standing timber from pine beetle infestations. I would like to see much of it harvested before it simply rots… and perhaps we’re already at that stage… I don’t know. But the forests are hurting.
Then along comes the Western Spruce Budworm.
It’s like Mother Nature is declaring that our forests are done with this cycle and they all need to GO AWAY. It must be time for them to die so they can reseed and come back around.
The Western Spruce Budworm has infested our trees in our mountain pasture and many of our neighbors as well. Damage is caused by larvae feeding on the buds and current year’s foliage causing a reddish brown color at the tips of branches. As they grow, they use silk to web together the tips of branches for protection. Warmer and drier weather can cause them to be more active, which we have had, and it can possibly intensify the outbreak. They can kill an entire forest.
There are natural predators… including wasps and flies and squirrels and birds… and sometimes an outbreak just stops for some unknown reason. There is a small window where insecticide could be used, but we’ve missed it.
I’m just writing this mainly as a public service for those in the Rocky Mountain West who, like us, have never even heard of the Spruce Budworm.
Just add it to the list of 2020’s Challenges.
(P.S. I’m just happy the Mormon Crickets haven’t gone crazy and started marching all over the mountain… they are gross.)
(P.P.S. My weather station says 2.99″ of moisture for the YEAR. Anyone want to send some rain this direction?)
Notice the brown tinge to the fir and spruce trees in this photo.Find me here!