August 23, 2017

State of Alabama
Press Release: Forestry Commission, Alabama

Southern Pine Beetles Reach Epidemic Level in Montgomery County

                      Contact: Dana Stone (334) 240-9363


Forestry professionals’ earlier predictions of a bad year for pine beetles is unfortunately coming to pass, especially for some counties in Alabama. Timber losses may be significant according to officials with the Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC).

“When trees are drought-stressed as many are from last fall, their weakened state makes them more prone to insects and diseases,” commented AFC Forest Health Coordinator Dana Stone. “This summer, we have seen a large number of trees dying across our state’s pine forests, and the culprit is southern pine beetle. In Montgomery County, AFC foresters have aerially detected over 100 beetle spots. When the number of beetle spots for a county exceeds one tenth of one percent of the pine-forested acres for that county, it qualifies as epidemic. Having fewer pine acres, Montgomery County has now reached that threshold.”

According to Stone, “The Alabama Forestry Commission conducts flights throughout the year for the purpose of detecting and marking beetle spots on a digital map. We then send notification letters to landowners advising them that they have an infestation, along with suggested control measures.” She continued, “Southern pine beetles are the primary killer of pines in Alabama, with unmanaged and overcrowded stands of southern pines most susceptible to attack. Epidemic populations of this bark beetle occur periodically in the state, destroying hundreds of acres of pines. If not controlled, these expanding populations can devastate entire stands, causing millions of dollars in damage.”

 “We encourage forest landowners to monitor their property for signs of damage, then contact their local AFC office or registered forester for management recommendations before taking any action,” said State Forester Rick Oates. “The Alabama Forestry Commission will continue to conduct both aerial surveys and ground checks to assess beetle activity across the state.”

The Alabama Forestry Commission is the state agency charged with protecting and sustaining Alabama’s forest resources using professionally applied stewardship principals and education, ensuring that the state’s forests contribute to abundant timber and wildlife, clean air and water, and a healthy economy. Additional information regarding southern pine beetle may be found at

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