DOLORES, Colo. – Later this month, state and federal experts will hold two workshops focusing on helping landowners with the identification and management of bark beetles and other tree-killing insects in southwest Colorado. “Beetles in Our Forest” is a free one-day workshop to be offered back-to-back on April 17 and 18 near Dolores.

Roundheaded pine beetle
Photo: Dan West

Each workshop will offer both classroom and field time and will target foresters, conservation organizations, arborists and tree-care experts on Tuesday and local landowners on Wednesday. The workshops will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and the public is welcome to attend either day.

Native forest insects have impacted hundreds of thousands of acres in southwest Colorado over the past two decades. To help address this concern, entomologists Dan West, Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS), and Amy Lockner, U.S. Forest Service (USFS), will present on bark beetle biology and identification information, as well as management options for mitigating beetle-caused mortality.

They will focus largely on roundheaded pine beetle, which targets ponderosa pines and is responsible for a fast-growing outbreak in Dolores County that affected 11,000 acres last year alone. The workshop also will cover other bark beetle species causing tree mortality in the area, and offer the opportunity to discuss other insects affecting local tree species.

“Beetle-caused tree mortality has increased throughout much of southwestern Colorado in recent years, and because very little precipitation fell this past winter, this mortality likely will intensify,” said West.

“We hope that sharing how to recognize beetle-infested trees and when to act, based on the biology of the insects, will make a difference across the landscape.”

For local landowners and professionals, the workshops will:

  • Increase knowledge of bark beetle/tree insect issues, management practices and resources.
  • Demonstrate different stages of beetle infestation in trees.
  • Provide bark beetle management options and best practices specific to locally prominent tree beetle
    species.
  • Spread knowledge of locally available resources to assist landowners in beetle tree removal.

The workshops are being offered through a collaboration between the CSFS, Dolores Watershed Resilient Forest Collaborative, FireWise of Southwest Colorado, USFS, Natural Resources Conservation Service, High Desert and Mancos Conservation Districts, and Colorado State University Extension, with support from the Colorado Water Conservation Board.

Both workshops will be held at The Nature Center at Butler Corner, 20503 Road 31, five miles north of Dolores. If interested in attending either day, please RSVP to mcfirewise@gmail.com or 970-364-3473. Lunch and handouts will be provided, so please RSVP no later than April 13.