Red trees and black beetles: USU’s Science Unwrapped climate probes change effects

LOGAN – As outdoor enthusiasts head for the region’s national forests this spring, they’ll encounter shriveled, rust-colored sentinels in the wake of continued ravages by tiny insects. “Residents of Utah and other western states are noticing more and more dead trees in local forests and wondering, ‘What’s going on?'” says Barbara Bentz, research entomologist with Logan’s U.S. Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station. Bentz is featured speaker for the Friday, March 25th Science Unwrapped presentation, “Red Trees and Black Beetles: Climate Influences Bark Beetle Population Success.” The free event, hosted by USU’s College of Science, begins at 7 p.m. in the Emert Auditorium, Room 130, of the Eccles Science Learning Center. Inquiring minds of all ages are welcome. “We believe that two major factors are responsible for increased beetle infestations,” says Bentz, adjunct associate professor in USU’s Department of Wildland Resources. “One is climate change with associated shifts in precipitation and temperature that influence both beetles and their host trees. The other is a legacy of forestry management practices during the past 100 years that have created forest landscapes throughout western North American that are highly susceptible to bark beetle outbreaks.” Hands-on activities, exhibits and refreshments follow Bentz’s talk. The presentation is part of Science’s Unwrapped’s Climate series, which continues through the spring. For more information, call 435-797-3517, visit or “like” Science Unwrapped at USU on Facebook.

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