Our M.L.A. Jack Hayden has just now realized Alberta has a problem with beetles killing trees; this has been going on for over two years now. He states the Conservative government is mounting an expensive campaign against mountain pine beetles while spruce beetles are killing most of our trees in Alberta.
In B.C. they mostly have pine trees hence the pine beetle, In Alberta, the spruce tree makes up a large portion of our trees hence the spruce beetle.
Two years ago, I urged the Conservative government to take strong and direct action in bringing a slow down in the beetle infestation. One way and the only way of controlling the infestation would be to use sprays but sprays would have to be applied at the base of the trees.
My greatest fear of the damage and spread of the spruce beetle has now happened, the beetles are now on the eastern slopes of the Rockies and when they take flight they can travel miles now riding the south-westerly winds and areas of damage will start to appear in different spots whereas before they would only move two to five thousand feet. The actual tree kill will not only affect the forestry industry but also the tourist industry and the dead trees will stand as sentiment of any thing that could go wrong went wrong. The next greatest fear is erosion as the ground will now have no protection and erode into streams and rivers and the silt will kill thousands of fish and will take years to recover.
The government can spend millions of dollars on employment opportunities but they may as well save this money for unemployment insurance as thousands will be knocked out of work for years to come.
Beetle infestations have happened before and as beetles are always present in the wild but the last few warm winters beetle populations have exploded. Man can manage beetle populations by proper spraying and although beetles will always be there, they will be at a greatly reduced rate.
Cold weather will control beetle populations and this cycle will end when the temperatures go down to minus forty for about six to eight weeks. With the government doing nothing, we had better pray temperatures will drop as most of Alberta could be affected by beetle infestation.