Omineca Spruce Beetle Outbreak
In 2019, approximately 503,779 hectares of forests across the province were impacted by spruce beetles.
For the Omineca Region, just over 354,000 hectares was impacted by spruce beetles in 2019. This number is considerably higher than normally would be expected (e.g., only 7,653 hectares in 2013) and represents the biggest spruce beetle outbreak in British Columbia since the 1980s.
The spruce beetle is native to British Columbia and is regularly seen in forested areas, but higher-than-normal populations have been detected in the Omineca region.
Since 2014, the B.C. Government has been actively identifying tree stands in this region where adult beetles and their young are present.
The total estimated spruce beetle attack in the Omineca Region is approximately 503,779 hectares, most of which (259,629 hectares) is in the Prince George Natural Resource District. This is up from approximately 340,405 hectares of spruce beetle-infested forest detected in 2018.
Although this outbreak is a concern, the situation is not comparable to the spread of the mountain pine beetle in recent decades.
Past outbreaks have lasted up to seven years.
Government is closely monitoring the situation to minimize any impacts on timber supply, the forest industry and forestry jobs and will continue to work with forest licensees and other stakeholders to identify affected areas, evaluate population control methods and determine the most effective ways to limit the current outbreak.