Re Beetles and cold temps:
It’s cold in the Hole these days, but probably not cold enough to affect the mountain pine beetles out there in the woods. Beetles are crafty lil’ bastards: in late autumn, they replace the water in their cells with glycol - natural antifreeze - which hardens them against cold in the dead of winter. Insulation from snow protects them as well. In December and January, they’re basically impervious.
What’s more helpful are cold snaps in the spring and fall, during other stages of the beetles’ life cycles when they’re more vulnerable. The last time this happened was Oct. 9-11, 2010, when it got unseasonably cold for a few nights, and seemed to have a negative effect (positive for the whitebark) on beetle productivity the following summer.
If you’re praying for our trees, please pray for a butt ass cold March.
(Thanks to Sage Cattabriga-Alosa for the great pic of a Whitebark in winter in the Sawtooths.)