Winter did not stop pine beetle spread in Alberta

Cold temperatures did not stop the spread of pine beetles in Alberta this winter, and it may be too late to eliminate the tree-killing insects from the province, officials said on Thursday.

Cold winter temperatures slowed the growth of the beetle population in parts of the province, but a survey this spring indicates thousands survived in much of southwestern Alberta and in pockets elsewhere.

"Pine beetles may be here to stay in Alberta," Sustainable Resource Development Minister Ted Morton said in a written statement, which also warned the province will have to work hard to keep the beetle population low.