Warmer winters could push pine-tree killing beetles deeper into Maine

By Lori Valigra
Bangor Daily News
February 20, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US East

January’s record high average temperature throughout Maine foreshadows a threat from a new pest that could attack the iconic trees spanning Maine’s southern coast to the mountaintops of Acadia National Park. …southern pine beetles — each about half the size of a grain of rice — can marshall into swarms that attack and tunnel through pitch pines, trees appreciated for their scraggly beauty… They can kill a tree within a few weeks, scientists said, and already have killed thousands of acres of pine forest in the southern U.S. So far, only a couple dozen beetles have been found in Maine, and many of those died off during the cold snap in February 2023. But warming weather is bringing them north from their southern U.S. roots, with the beetle already having expanded to Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. …The southern pine beetle favors pitch pines, but it also attacks red pines and jack pines. 

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