Despite a frigid winter that killed many of them off, mountain pine beetles continue to thrive in Alberta and could spread further east.
Field surveys show low temperatures killed off most of the bugs in southern Alberta west of Calgary, but new swarms of the tree-killing insects are expected to fly into the area this summer from B.C.
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In the north, more of the tenacious beetles survived the cold and could now move east through a band of boreal forest that runs across the country.
Ted Morton, Alberta’s minister of sustainable development, says the province needs more than cold winters to kill off the beetles.
He says the government will fight the spread by cutting trees and setting controlled forest fires.
The province plans to focus its attack on southwest Alberta and on the northern edge of the infestation, which has run as far east as Slave Lake.