Red Deer River Naturalists

The Red Deer river Naturalists are a group dedicated to learning about and preserving natural history. They have regular programs with speakers and many field trips.

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Friday, March 23, 2012

Andrew Nikiforuk: Empire of the Beetle

      Andrew Nikiforuk spoke to the Red Deer River Naturalists(RDRN)  on his new book "Empire of the Beetle. 


      Andrew traced the history of the beetle to now and how the beetle operates. The recent outbreak in Western Canada actually started in Alaska. The beetle thrives well in trees that for whatever reason are stressed. Many large swaths of our forests are old and therefore unhealthy because of age. It could be drought . The female beetle finds a susceptible tree and alerts other beetles to the tree. The beetles and larva work under the bark and destroy the active tree layer just under the bark. These beetles can multiply at enormous rates.


      Governments have spent fortunes to control the beetle but with extremely little success. Some methods used to control the beetle are almost comical. One example, was to try to find sounds that would harm the beetle.


    Andrew thinks that most money spent to control the beetle is a waste. The beetle is a natural way to renew the forests , just not the way we would like to see the forest renewed.


    Andrew's presentation gave a detailed look at the beetle's life cycle and how it operates. All those who listened to the talk went away with much more understanding of how the beetle can be so destructive.

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