TYLER COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Traps have been set out across 11 Deep East Texas counties that will allow for researchers with the Texas A&M Forest Service to predict how the environment will be effected by the Southern Pine Beetle.
"Today and tomorrow we are implementing a predictive service of the Southern Pine Beetle," Texas A&M forester Michael Murphrey said. "There are five bark beetles that live in the south and of those five this is the worst one."
"It is worst then most fire problems we have in the south when it gets into an epidemic proportion," Murphrey said. "It is a very scattered bark beetle scattered all across the southern united states."
With nearly 12 million acres of commercial timer that produces 130,600 jobs with $7.9 billion in revenue, it is important for foresters to be able to predict how the beetle will move each year.
"If they spot a bark beetle on their property, they need to call their local forester or a consulting forester," Murphrey said. "
Murphrey and his team will be monitoring traps they have set up in 11 counties across the region.
"Every other week we will come back to the traps and collect the samples," Murphrey said. "We will go out to the site and look at what they have and then we will make a determination if it is Southern Pine Beetle, if it warrants harvesting. "Harvesting tends to be the best tool, because you can get out front and stop the spread of the beetle."
The traps being used have a scent on them that smells like a tree as well as another packet that puts off the smell of a female beetle. The traps are hung from trees in areas that are attractive to the beetle.
"We will be able to determine if we have an epidemic outbreak situation determined by the number of beetles caught in these traps," Murphrey said.
Murphrey said at the end of the study, he does not expect to see signs of an epidemic year.
"We expect to see a predatory beetle," Murphrey said. "It's called a checkered beetle. It is the predator that eats the Southern Pine Beetle."
Even though they are hopeful they now you can not predict the beetles perfectly.
"It will become an epidemic situation if the nature provides the elements for nature to do so," Murphrey said.