Photo courtesy of Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University; Bugwood.org 

As of January 1, a new pest quarantine was put in place to protect Minnesota’s pine forests, when the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) implemented an exterior state quarantine for the mountain pine beetle. This quarantine is designed to stop the movement into Minnesota of any wood potentially infested with mountain pine beetle.

This insect, which is native to the western United States and Canada, spends most of its life in the area of a pine tree between the bark and the wood. The adult beetles can release a pheromone, or natural scent, to attract other beetles and eventually they may overwhelm the health of entire stands of pines to the extent they all die off. This makes the mountain pine beetle one of the most damaging forest insects in North America.

Recently, these beetles and their larva have been found by MDA in wood brought into Minnesota. This quarantine will reduce the risk of the human-aided movement of the insect from happening again.

The quarantine would limit the import of pine wood with bark from western state’s with known infestations. Currently, there are 13 states with mountain pine beetle. More information on mountain pine beetle and the quarantine can be found at http://www.mda.state.mn.us/plants/insects/mpb.aspx.