Beetle Kill

South Central Alaska, Kenai Peninsula,
& Kenai River Beetle Kill

Alaska Beetle Kill Map
Map Detailing Location Of Beetle Kill Outbreak

South Central Alaska, The Kenai Peninsula, and the entire Kenai River area have been drastically impacted by beetle kill. The enormous fires that raged through the Kenai Peninsula is 2019 were in so small part aggravated by the sheer amount of beetle kill in the area. Alaska Tree Solutions has removed countless trees killed due to beetle kill to help reduce this fire hazard, improve property views, and most importantly helping to replant trees to bring biodiversity and resilience to beetle kill susceptibility.

Spruce-Bark Beetle Impacts

Tree Consulting Services
Kenai Peninsula Tree Consulting Services

Spruce bark beetles have killed spruce trees in vast areas of forest on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, Copper River Basin, and Anchorage Hillside. During the 1990s, almost three million acres of white and Lutz spruce forests were impacted by the beetle. Fortunately, the intense rate of beetle kill seems to be slowing on the Kenai Peninsula and along the Anchorage Hillside but the rate of kill is still very high and of concern. 

Spruce bark beetles occur naturally in Alaska forests and are important in initiating the decomposition of spruce trees. Under normal forest conditions, spruce bark beetles dine only on wind-felled trees, or trees with lowered defenses such as very old, slow-growing or highly stressed trees. Outbreaks occur when there is a sudden increase in prime bark beetle habitat, such as an abundance of newly fallen trees, or when climatic conditions are favorable for a rapid increase in beetle reproduction. Windstorms, some types of logging, the clearing of a right-of-ways, drought, warm weather, and fire suppression all create conditions ripe for bark beetle outbreaks.

The beetles may be small, but their impact on the boreal forest ecosystem is vast. Understory plants, wildlife, fish, soil dynamics, and humans are all affected by bark beetle outbreaks.

You can look around your home or favorite forest spot for spruce bark beetle impacts. If you are confident that a tree is infested or dying, peel away the bark and look for larvae mining galleries beneath. If you suspect one of your trees is infested call us for a free assessment. Of, if that tree has already succumbed give us a call so we can estimate removal and ideally replanting recommendations after removal.