Watch out for pine beetles! - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Watch out for pine beetles!

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July 9, 2007

Sylvester - - A pesky problem is popping up in South Georgia and it could have an impact on the state's bottom line.

Georgia Forestry officials say beetles are destroying trees due to the state's drought. They are concerned about a repeat of 2002, which was another bone dry year. Bugs caused more than 57 million dollars in losses.

Male beetles will poke a hole into a pine tree, that's when female beetles enter and lay their eggs. The larvae kills the tree.

"They'll find a tree that's stressed. During our drought we got a lot of stressed trees because we don't have as much water, puts a lot of strain on them. If lightening strikes one, it will stress it out. That pine beetle will find that stressed tree," says Forester Lester Green.

Pine trees translate into big business in Georgia. Last year, Georgia Tech estimated pine trees provide 16 million dollars to the economy and offered 67,000 jobs.

McCoy say if you see holes in your tree, look at the base. If you see piles of sawdust, he says you should cut the tree and burn it or contact the Forestry Commission so they can treat it.

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