Beetle-kill wood? The Beetle Kill Trade Association? My heart skipped a beat!



The bottom  of a dead tree trunk full of beetle holes caught my eye and I wondered how to share it on my blog.  An hour later, while innocently reading the Sunday New York Times, I encountered an article with a good hook:”Small Colorado Resort Goes Big With a $700 Lift Ticket”. The price included a pair of skis or a snowboard made of beetle-kill wood. Beetle-kill wood?!?! Bingo!


According to Google, “The mountain pine beetle has killed large numbers of the lodgepole pine trees in the northern mountains of the US state of Colorado. Chemical prevention is effective but too costly for large-scale use. If not removed the dead trees increase the incidence of wildfires, and may contribute to climate change as they decay. Uses have been found for the dead wood including composting and in construction, and potentially to make biochar.”


“Beetle kill wood is also being used in local projects. Multiple housing complexes are beginning to use beetle kill wood to replace sidings of houses, like a condo complex at Copper Mountain which is replacing old siding with blue-stain wood, which is named for the dark color in the wood that is caused by fungus carried by the pine beetle. Snowboards, skis and guitars are also being crafted from beetle kill pine.[1]

The Beetle Kill Trade Association has been established to “to unite and align the self interests of business invested in or interested in the removal and recycling of standing beetle killed lodgepole pines in order to remove obstacles to the creation of a viable, vibrant and sustainable market for products utilizing beetle kill pines as raw material.””

What about southern Maryland beetle-kill wood? The emerald ash borer has devastated most of our lovely ash trees. Photos of dead tree and bark follow.



The beetle exit holes are supposed to be sort of “D” shaped. Look closely. Some of the beetles made their “D”s backward. Local guitar designers seeking beetle-kill wood are encouraged to contact me.

Beetle-hunting in 2017!


Some of you may recognize the first beetle I saw 1/1/2017. It’s a Firefly enjoying the sun on a beech tree!  (Possibly a Winter Firefly, Ellychnia corrusca, per Warren Steiner.) Please note: For the next several days I will share photos of my New Year’s Day hike through Chapman Forest in Charles County, MD. I never dreamed I’d be beetle-hunting. But I had the great good fortune of hiking with Warren Steiner, one of the Smithsonian’s beetle experts. He was determined to find beetles and he did! He searched through bark, logs, mushrooms and mullein roots, sandy beaches and cliffs. He even shook branches full of leaves to see who might fall out. He found lots of tiny holes where beetle larvae had emerged earlier in 2016.beetle-click-beetle-1-1-17

Included in Warren’s many other beetle finds was a click beetle. Per Steiner, “the click beetle with orange-sided thorax is Lacon discoideus found under bark of pine stump.”

Interesting how similar the two appear at first. But if you look carefully you start to see differences. I’ve only seen black click beetles before.

Shared by Jim Long from Charles Darwin’s autobiography about another beetle walk long ago:

“I will give a proof of my zeal: one day on tearing off some old bark, I saw two rare beetles and seized one in each hand; then I saw a third and new kind, which I could not bear to lose, so that I popped the one which I held in my right hand into my mouth. Alas it ejected some intensely acrid fluid, which burnt my tongue so that I was forced to spit the beetle out, which was lost, as well as the third one”.

Hope you had a wonderful 1/1/17. Can you top beetle-hunting as the most unusual way to start the new year? Please let me know and please share my blog with your friends.