Spruce beetles has been devastating coniferous forests of pine, fir, spruce, and related trees across the West, and the problem is only getting worse every year. Researchers in Colorado, one of the worst-affected regions, have taken a closer look at the issue to find out what's causing it -- and what they can do about it. Their newly-released findings indicate that at least in Colorado, the problem lies with climate change.
They've found that drought combined with shifts in sea-surface temperatures has created a situation in which the beetles flourish, chomping on trees along the way. In addition to creating unsightly blight, the plague of insects is also a problem environmentally, as it's causing radical changes in Colorado's environment and the natural habitat for native species of plants and animals. For Denver landscaping services struggling with spruce beetle outbreaks, these findings are not good news; they're going to have to learn to cope with the problem, since long-term climate trends indicate that the problem is not going away any time soon.