Methods of control have shifted away from direct control (felling, burning, etc.) and towards indirect methods that discourage beetle habitat and keep populations at endemic (normal) levels. It is possible to prevent infestation with penetrating sprays on individual, high value trees such as those in campgrounds and near houses, but they need to be applied before the tree is infected and the cost of such treatments is prohibitive for any large-scale application.
Western pine beetles are a natural part of western ecosystems; they evolved here together with the pines they feed on. In the forest, they kill slow-growing, drought-stressed trees and act as natural thinners, opening up the stand for new trees and wildlife. Even outbreak conditions are “normal” as cycles of drought have been predisposing factors for beetle epidemics for thousands of years, as have root diseases. For this reason bark beetle attacks will never be eliminated (nor should they be). The death of a few trees on your property doesn’t necessarily herald the beginning of an outbreak; check the trees for signs of root disease
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