Torrent Silviculture has worked with West Fraser and Tolko mills throughout the interior of British Columbia surveying beetle-infested tree stands. The probing season usually runs from late august until late October depending on snowpack and site accessibility.
What is Beetle Probing?
Beetle probing is a seasonal occupation in the forestry industry that is a combination of surveying and pest control. It involves assessing trees in a given area which have been infested by the mountain pine or Douglas fir beetle. It is part of the ongoing effort to limit the extent of the beetle infestation in British Columbia.
To start the process, designated aircraft will fly over timber stands to look for groups of red-needled or grey trees of four or more. They mark GPS points for each of these sites. The beetle probers then go to these sites via bush roads and walking. They will set up a predetermined perimeter circle, then inspect every pine tree within this circle for signs of the beetle. This could include stripped bark, red needles, and “pitch outs”; where sap has dripped out of the small holes left by beetles as they burrow into the tree.
Every infested tree must be marked with spray paint and often, a GPS location. Suspect trees will be cut into with a hatchet to determine if there are larvae present within the tree.
Infested areas will then be cut down to mitigate the spread of infestation.