Bark beetles are more plentiful in Idaho forests this year, a University of Idaho Extension forestry educator says.

“Bark beetle activity is definitely on the upswing,” Chris Schnepf said. “We had some secondary bark beetles that normally aren’t much of a problem actually killing trees last spring, particularly understory Douglas fir.”

Other pine bark beetles include pine engraver beetle and Western pine beetle.

“There have actually been reports of three generations of pine engraver beetle this year, when normally we only have two,” Schnepf said.

Family forest owners will learn to distinguish between bark beetles during UI Extension’s Forest Insect and Disease Field Day, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 19, beginning at the North Idaho College Parking Lot “A,” across Hubbard Street from the Coeur d’Alene Wastewater Plant.

The program gives people first-hand exposure to insects and diseases that affect forest health,

“Many of our programs are indoors and reviewing various things, but this one, the focus is all outdoors,” Schnepf said.

Participants will also learn how to identify mistletoe.

The thing people kiss under?

“That’s a different mistletoe,” Schnepf said with a laugh. “The mistletoe on our conifers is dwarf mistletoe.”

Leafy mistletoe — the one associated with smooching at Christmas — occurs on hardwood trees. It occurs on oak trees in coastal Oregon.

“Either way, both of them are basically parasites on trees, and can affect the health of trees in various ways,” Schnepf said. “Leafy mistletoe doesn’t tend to damage trees to the extent, say, larch mistletoe does. Larch mistletoe is a serious problem.”

It’s better to prevent forest problems before they occur, Schnepf said, by reducing the number of trees per acre and favoring the best species mix for a site, which typically means more pine and larch and less Douglas fir and grand fir.

“You need to learn about these things and manage them before they become a problem,” Schnepf said. “By the time you’re seeing a problem, it’s too late to do much more than clean up the mess.”

Schnepf hopes for at least 10 people, but said the program has drawn up to 70 participants.

A $15 registration fee covers source materials and refreshments. Pesticide credits are available.

Contact UI Kootenai County Extension at 208-446-1680. Pre-register by Nov. 11.

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