Mountain Pine Beetle: Resources and Options

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The MPB, or Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins, is a small bark beetle about 4.0 to 7.5 mm in length – about the size of a grain of rice. The MPB is the most destructive pest of mature pine forests in North America.

When beetle populations are small, they prefer stressed, mature or over-mature (80+ years) pine. As populations grow, any pine over 12.5 cm in diameter can be killed – even healthy trees.

MPB are capable of attacking and killing all species of pine including:

  • lodgepole
  • jack
  • ponderosa
  • scots or scotch, plus the endangered;
  • whitebark
  • limber

To learn more about the Mountain Pine Beetle, it's life cycle, and other facts please visit Alberta Agriculture & Forestry's full webpage at:

What to Watch For:

  • Check out this MPB Identification Card Set to help with your identification process.
  • Look for creamy globs that look like crystallized honey, called pitch tubes, and sawdust at the base of the tree and in the bark’s crevices.
  • Trees successfully attacked by mountain pine beetles usually die within one year, however if the beetle has made an attempt to enter the tree but is "pitched out” before completing reproduction, the tree may survive.
  • Scout out the pine trees on your property, wrap survey tape around each tree that appears to have been attacked. It is recommended that a tree with more than 40 pitch tubes be removed.

Next steps:

If you suspect an infestation, consider seeking a professional option from government officials or professional arborists to confirm the situation with your pine tree or pine tree stand.

Options include:

  • Selling attacked trees and transport to sawmills for debarking on their site (mostly a winter activity)
  • Hire an arborist with a chipper to come on to your property and leave the material on site
  • Falling and burning the mass attacked trees (with an appropriate fire permit from the proper jurisdiction) before July when the developing beetles could emerge to attack nearby trees.

Contact Us:

For questions about MPB on private land contact Mountain View County Agriculture Services at 403-335-3311 during office hours or email ag@mvcounty.com at any time.

County Ag Services staff are trained to provide identification of the mountain pine beetle. Early detection and control by residents help play an important role in managing Alberta’s MPB infestation and preventing further spread.

This pest is not registered under the Provincial Agricultural Pest Act.

To contact Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, call 310-0000, or email  for-info@gov.ab.ca.