Pests invading NC forests - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Pests invading NC forests

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LENOIR,NC (WBTV) – Forestry officials in North Carolina want landowners to be on the lookout for some pesky bugs that could turn a beautiful tree into worthless firewood.

A beetle that has caused havoc along the eastern seaboard has been found in Bladen County, the first such sighting in North Carolina.

The Red Ambrosia attacks Red Bay trees and other laurel varieties. Forestry officials say eventually it could spread across the state, but likely would be contained in the coastal areas.

In the western part of the state, forestry experts have been monitoring the Pine Beetle situation.

"Normally there are outbreaks every five to eight years," said Tommy Sports of the North Carolina Forest Service.

The last outbreak though was 10 years ago and says "We are very much due."

Pine Beetles bore into trees and eventually kill them.

Once beetles are discovered, the best treatment is to cut down the affected tree as well as others nearby.

Sports thinks the beetles have been kept in check by other predatory beetles, but he says "it is a cyclical thing and I wouldn't be surprised at another outbreak."

Landowners who think they have signs of a Pine Beetle infestation are urged to call their local State Forestry officials who will assess the problem and advise the landowner what the next best step would be.

The best prevention, said Sports, is to keep trees healthy and watch for the earliest signs of trouble.

If a tree is infested, small holes will appear on the bark and sap will likely be seen coming out.

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