Colorado State Forest Service has just released a great info document on the spruce beetle. Below is an excerpt. Follow the link to read the full article.
“The spruce beetle is a native species in Colorado’s spruce forest ecosystem. Endemic populations are always present, and epidemics are a natural part of the changing forest. There usually are long intervals between such events as insect and disease epidemics and wildfires, giving spruce forests time to regenerate. Prior to their occurrence, the potential impacts of these natural disturbances can be reduced through proactive forest management.
The spruce beetle (Dendroctonus rufipennis) is responsible for the death of more spruce trees in North America than any other natural agent. Spruce beetle populations range from Alaska and Newfoundland to as far south as Arizona and New Mexico. The subalpine Engelmann spruce is the primary host tree, but the beetles will infest any spruce tree species within their geographical range, including blue spruce. In Colorado, the beetles are most commonly observed in high-elevation spruce forests above 9,000 feet.”