Mountain Pine Beetle in B.C.

The mountain pine beetle is a naturally occurring insect of the Rocky Mountain ecosystem. In the late 1990s, after several relatively warm winters, a massive outbreak resulted in the loss of millions of hectares of pine forest in British Columbia over the next 15 years.

The B.C. government took a range of measures to respond to this outbreak's effects on forests, communities and industry.

The beetles are killed by very cold winter weather, which historically has kept their numbers in check. They attack mature trees by boring through the bark and mining the phloem (living tissue in vascular plants that carries organic nutrients).

Under specific conditions, mountain pine beetle infestations are manageable. In B.C., procedures have been developed for tactical planning, prevention, detection and treatment – all designed to manage mountain pine beetle populations and minimize their impact on forest resource values. 

For help identifying mountain pine beetle damage, refer to the Field Guide to Forest Damage in B.C. (PDF, 6.5MB).