European spruce bark beetle wreaks devastation

The European spruce bark beetle is causing havoc in the Den Rooy nature area in Hoogstraten (Antwerp Province).  The tiny insect has been attacking fir trees and has already caused considerable damage.

So far several dozen firs have been affected.  The insect lays its eggs in the tree trunk.  As soon as these hatch the larvae drill tunnels through the bark.

Stijn Leestmans of the environmental organisation Natuurpunt: "The beetles gained a foothold here last year when many trees were blown down in a storm.  When the beetles have hollowed out the entire trunk, the trees are practically dead.  The beetle could devastate the entire area in only a couple of months”.

Natuurpunt is eager to fell the trees as soon as possible to stop the beetles’ advance, but first needs authorisation.