The Mountain Pine Beetle is an insect native to the forests of western North America. Normally, these insects play an important role in the life of a forest, attacking old or weakened trees, and speeding development of younger forests. However, unusual hot, dry summers and mild winters during the last few years, along with forests filled with mature lodgepole pine, have led to an unprecedented epidemic.
Mountain pine beetles affect pine trees by laying eggs under the bark. The beetles introduce blue stain fungus into the sapwood that prevents the tree from repelling and killing the attacking beetles with tree pitch flow. The fungus also blocks water and nutrient transport within the tree. When the tree is first attacked, it remains green. Usually within a year of attack, the needles will have turned red. This means the tree is dying or dead, and the beetles have moved to another tree. In three to four years after the attack, very little foliage is left, so the trees appear grey.
The good news is that while the fungus is spreading through the tree it “stains” the wood a blue/grey color. The result creates beautiful and interesting patterns. It has no effect on the structure of the wood, so we are inspired to use the wood in picture frames, cabinets, accessories and furniture.
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So, enjoy the unique beauty of “Beetle-Kill Blue Stain Pine” and thank Mother Nature for the serendipity!