Vue Estates Property Owner's Association
The good news is that spruce bark beetle infestations in south-central Alaska have dropped precipitously, including the Anchorage bowl. The bad new is that the beetles are still with us.
In response to the Valli Vue Homeowners Association's call to arms in past years, our homeowners mobilized to fight the beetles with fairly significant results. A major portion of homeowners had their trees sprayed, resulting in a dramatic decrease in large spruce mortality. In fact, Valli Vue was written up in the 1996 US Forest Service Narrative Summary of Accomplishment under the Renewable Resource Extension Act as a successful model for local community forest management. So, what now?
Those who sprayed last year have a choice. US Forest Service research on the Kenai Peninsula has shown that proper spraying with either Lindane or Carbaryl (the two most common chemicals) provides almost 100 percent protection for two years. There are certainly some exceptions to these findings, but in general trees sprayed last year will probably be protected for this year. Spray contractors may disagree with a biennial spraying program, but they are not necessarily unbiased parties. If you have a tree(s), however, that you absolutely don't want to lose, you should consider spraying annually. Still, it is up to each homeowner to decide his or her level of comfort. Remember, if you don't spray annually, it is important that you keep accurate track of which of your trees are sprayed, and when.
The key is to spray
For those who did not spray last year: The probability of protection drops to between 85 and 90 percent during the third spring after spraying. Every spruce tree on your lot over 10" in diameter is at risk. Look around. Several owners who would not pay $10 to spray a tree have faced bills of several hundred dollars to have them cut down. Many dead trees were felled in Valli Vue last year because they had not been sprayed in time, and there undoubtedly will be more this year.
Longer term, we can probably expect the beetle infestation to regress further. Thus, if you sprayed last year and plan on a biannual spray program, you may need to spray perhaps two more times before the infestation runs its course.
How can I tell
if a tree has been hit?
Spruce beetles usually take one year to kill a tree, so if one of yours was mass attacked last year, it my be too late already. After the initial attack in May or early June, the eggs hatch into larvae that spend the first winter under the bark eating phloem sells. During the second summer/winter the larvae mature into adult beetles which leave to attack other nearby trees the following May and June. If one of your trees only received a partial attack last year, you may be able to save it before it is attacked again this coming May or June.
What can I do?
Why should I care?
But what if my
neighbor doesn't do anything?
What is the Valli
Vue Homeowners Association doing about the beetle?
Who can I talk
to about this?
It's easy to click on the TV and ignore this threat, but it's very real, it's serious, and it's still here. Remember,