Houston County, AL Drought and related wildfire issues in Alabama received some relief from rainfall in December 2016 and last month.
But, the harmful effects associated with drought continue to plague the state's forestland.
The ongoing drought caused stress on trees across Alabama.
Drought-stressed trees can be weakened, making them more susceptible to insects and diseases.
Brady Dunn with the Alabama Forestry Commission says:
"within the last couple of months we have seen an increase in beetle activity across the southeast."
Pine forests are the primary ones being impacted by specific types of beetles…
"southern pine beetles, ips engraver beetles and black turpentine beetles."
These beetles can be the size of a dime or a grain of rice.
Brady Dunn and Caroline Ritter visited three locations in Houston County Tuesday and in one location 3 acres were damaged from the ips beetle.
Brady was able to pinpoint a few trees that experienced damage and he says:
"you do not see many pitch tubes on this tree but you do see the redish sawdust that is evidence of the ips bark beetle."
While one small critter can cause big damage...
There are a few things landowners can do...
"monitor their property and their forest land if they see any yellowing of needles or any pitch tubes that look like popcorn on trees give the forestry commission a call we will come out and do a free site visit."
The forestry commission continues to conduct aerial surveys to assess beetle activity across the state but to ensure the overall health of the forestland it's important to keep these tips in mind.
On average, the state loses 60,000 pine trees a year during the pine bark beetle outbreak that totals to $800,000 in economic loss. The Alabama Forestry Commission expects that number to increase this year because of the drought.