Friday December 6, 2013
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Save that poor bark beetle!
If this doesn't break you up, you're a Vulcan who landed on the planet in hope of getting a part in Star Trek.
The U. S. Forest Service is doing BIG study of the effect that bark beetles might have on forest fires.
The results? Who cares? That's not the funny part. (And anyway, the results say that there is NO effect. If the tree is caught in a fire while it still has its needles, it burns better. If they all fall off, it hardly burns at all. So basically, bark beetles have no effect on fires.)
The funny part came during an interview when Robert Mangold, the U.S. Forest Service's Director of Forest Health Protection, obviously began to worry that someone might think that the Forest Service would do something to a poor innocent bark beetle.
Don't forget now, bark beetles are a "species" (well, actually about 15 species out here in the West), and heaven forbid that anyone in the Forest Service should endanger a species.
The beetles attacked 8.8 million acres of ponderosa pines in 2009, but that has slowed down to a mere 3.8 million as of 2011, (maybe because there aren't as many acres left to attack).
So what did Robert Mangold have to say when the thought that he might harm a poor innocent bark beetle seemed about to crop up?
Read it and break up.
"These are native beetles. We are not trying to eradicate these beetles. We are living with them, but when they exceed the normal level of activity, we try to mitigate."
I wonder what "mitigate" means?
Now, comes an even funnier part. And you'll have to trust me that it wasn't planned. I had just typed what you read above, and I started to scroll down in the story to see if there was anything else of interest in it. I swear to God that this is what I read:
"The federal government is spending about $100 million a year as part of its five-year strategy for tackling the beetle kill.
It includes reducing the danger of falling trees along roadways, trails and in campgrounds...."
As I said, Stand out of the way as the trees fall.
Are they going to save the trees? After all they are an endangered species.
Here's more of the plan:
"Part of the plan also includes trying to make forests more diverse in terms of tree species..."
Maybe they'll plant Pecan trees and train the beetles to eat nuts.
Got a ponderosa out front? Go kiss it goodbye.
By the way. There's a spray that you can use to save your trees. It's called Lindane.**
However, the EPA has...uh, banned its use.
On the other hand it's still approved by the FDA for use on humans.
** Seeing how things were going back in 2006, I bought a bottle of Lindane. I still have it. There are going to be some mighty surprised beetles when they attack my two pines.
If you think I was kidding about lindane still being approved for use on humans, I wasn't. Some brands of lice shampoo contain lindane. It's quite effective.
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