2016-03-25

Spruce beetle could be sign of 'new normal'

An outbreak of the spruce beetle in the Omineca region north of Prince George could be a harbinger of things to come if the conditions that brought it to the fore remain in place in the coming years, according to a University of Northern British Columbia professor.

Like its cousin, the pine beetle, deep cold is one of the insect's biggest enemies, so the recent series of "almost Okanagan-like" winters in this region has done little if anything to halt the bug's progress, Dezene Huber, a professor in UNBC's ecosystem science program told The Citizen.

Unlike its cousin, the spruce beetle prefers fallen trees and thanks to some major blowdowns, probably brought on by the more unpredictable and severe weather that comes with climate change, they've been getting an abundance of those, Huber also noted.