2012-01-10

Alberta's wild winter helping with pine beetle battle

The wild swings in temperature experienced in Alberta this winter could provide a big boost in the battle against the mountain pine beetle.

Normally temperatures of -40C — and that’s ambient temperature, without windchill — are needed for at least 24 hours to start killing off the beetles, but big fluctuations can actually do the same thing, officials said.

“When the weather gets warmer, the internal mechanism of the beetle says, ‘hey, spring is coming,’ and they start to convert their natural anti-freeze to energy,” said Alberta Sustainable Resource Development spokesman Duncan MacDonnell.