July 29, 2016 - 8:00 PM
CALGARY - New research suggests a good offence is not the best defence when it comes to fending off the destructive mountain pine beetle.
The beetles, which are about the size of a grain of rice and have devastated forests in British Columbia for the past 20 years, affect pine trees by laying eggs under the bark.
The beetles introduce blue stain fungus into the sapwood that prevents the tree from repelling and killing the attacking beetles with tree pitch flow.
Although the tree sap produced by the lodgepole pine is toxic to the beetles, University of Calgary researcher Mary Reid says it appears to be part of the problem.
She says the bigger and healthier tree, the more likely it is to be attacked.
Reid says although the larger trees are able to repel the unwanted visitors, to a certain extent they are usually overwhelmed by the huge number of pine beetles that attack them.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2016