Pine beetles threaten Georgia trees - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Pine beetles threaten Georgia trees

Crews are working to track and prevent pine beetles from destroying Georgia trees. (Source: WALB) Crews are working to track and prevent pine beetles from destroying Georgia trees. (Source: WALB)
Georgia Forestry officials said that they are fighting an outbreak of southern pine beetles in parts of Southeast Georgia. (Source: WALB) Georgia Forestry officials said that they are fighting an outbreak of southern pine beetles in parts of Southeast Georgia. (Source: WALB)
Georgia Forestry experts said they believe two mild winters in a row have helped pine beetles grow in numbers. (Source: WALB) Georgia Forestry experts said they believe two mild winters in a row have helped pine beetles grow in numbers. (Source: WALB)
Southwest Georgia tree services are seeing turpentine pine beetles. (Source: WALB) Southwest Georgia tree services are seeing turpentine pine beetles. (Source: WALB)
Harper Tree Service Owner Lee Harper (Source: WALB) Harper Tree Service Owner Lee Harper (Source: WALB)
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Pine beetles are attacking trees across the state of Georgia.

Georgia Forestry officials said that they are fighting an outbreak of southern pine beetles in parts of Southeast Georgia.

The pests haven't shown up in Southwest Georgia, but state officials said turpentine pine beetles are busy across the Peach State, keeping tree services' chainsaws running.

"The pine beetles are keeping us busy year round now," said Harper Tree Service Owner Lee Harper.

Georgia Forestry experts said they believe two mild winters in a row have helped pine beetles grow in numbers, which is bad news for many property owners.

"When you have a tree struck by lightning," said Harper. "Diseased pines, any pine trees stressed out, the beetles will come out of the ground and drill these holes in it."

Southwest Georgia tree services are seeing turpentine pine beetles, which eat into pine trees and cut off sap and water distribution, and they are easy to spot by the sawdust around the base of infested trees.

"What they leave behind when they leave. Now when it's fresh, you will fresh gumballs," explained Harper. "Looks like gumballs. See how fresh they are?  So that trees fixing to die next.  And we have four others right here in the yard too, because they have done got attacked."

Experts said that spraying pine trees to prevent beetles could save them, if they are not already infected.

Forestry officials said they are tracking the three types of pine beetles across the state, to protect and save Georgia trees.

Georgia Forestry officials are flying to spot southern pine beetles, and have found about 50 spots in Southeast Georgia, which they call an outbreak.  

Now they are working to stop their spread, to keep it from becoming an epidemic.

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