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Pine beetle invasion still on in the Okanagan

Even though last summer's fires are out, there's some other natural threats which haven't gone away, and in fact, are gaining new traction.

The pine beetle, its progress slowed by recent cooler winters, and new threat to Kelowna’s tree canopy, the tussock moth, are both set to explode in population, threatening over half the trees in Kelowna.

And while nobody is likely to lose their home or life over it (unless a dead tree falls over on a house) there is the potential for some homeowners to have to pay thousands to have dead trees removed from their yards.

Unlike wildfire, there is no way for homeowners to recoup that money as there is no insurance or currently any disaster relief fund to cover those costs.

"In the future, that could become a problem," agrees Blair Stewart, an urban forest technician with the City of Kelowna, who says modeling done by government entomologists predicts a large-scale die-off of pine-beetle bitten trees in the valley could begin as early as 2013.

The tussock moth goes after the Douglas fir, the most common member within Kelowna's tree canopy of 3.3 million trees, and while not as lethal as the pine beetle, still has the potential to kill hundreds of thousands of trees.

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