Mountain Pine Beetle

The mountain pine beetle is a member of the bark beetle family and is the most damaging insect pest of pine trees in western North America. Left unmanaged, the Mountain Pine Beetle could devastate Alberta pine forests. Lacombe County has found several cases in the west portion of the County.



  • Please take the time to inspect your pine trees. Look for these signs and symptoms:
    • Likely the easiest sign indicating the presence of Mountain Pine Beetle is boring sawdust found in bark crevices and around the base of the tree.
    • Secondly, look for pitch tubes (small nodules of sap that look like crystallized honey on the bark).
    • Peel back the bark and look for live larvae. If you do find live larvae under the bark, your healthy trees are at risk.
    • From the air, you'll notice patches of completely red-brown or yellow-green pine trees.
  • Burn infested trees immediately (make sure to get a Fire Permit, if necessary).
  • Keep your green trees as healthy as possible; water is key since a drought-stressed tree is less capable of resisting a beetle attack.

The following prevention information contains links to information about sprays and treatments that have been used in other provinces in an attempt to control the spread of Mountain Pine Beetle.

Lacombe County provides this information as a resource only and is in no way endorsing their use. Persons can use these chemicals on their private lands as per instruction, at their own risk and cost. These are potent chemicals that do have inherent health risks for all humans, in particular children.


  • There is a product on the market, called Verbenone, that has been used in spot applications to try and stop beetles from attacking valued trees. Verbenone pouches can be attached to specific high-value trees chosen to be protected; however, they are not a guarantee that pine beetles will not infest the tree.
    • Verbenone is SOLD AT LACOMBE COUNTY ($125.00 for a 10-pack of Verbenone. This can not be sold in smaller quantities at this time)
  • HOW VERBENONE WORKS: The product is a repellent or anti-aggregation pheromone. Application of repellent pheromones must be completed before the beetles emerge to look for new host trees.
    • Pouches should be nailed or stapled on to the north side of a tree or vertical object at maximum reach from the ground, an additional pouch may be placed on the same tree on the north side as well at least 2.5 meters high from the ground.
    • Additional pouches can be added in a  4-5 meters perimeter around the protected area.
    • Hang on the tree between June 15 – July 1. Pouches should be placed on the tree before MPB takes flight. Emerging from under the bark leaving the effected tree to infect a new tree
    • For the best results, a fresh pouch should be placed on the tree partway through the year.

Regardless of what you do, there is no guarantee you can save your trees. It depends upon the intensity and duration of the beetle flight in July and August. To find out more about the health effects and chemicals permitted for use in Canada we recommend you visit Health Canada's Pest Management Regulation Agency.