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Bark beetle beats forest retreat

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Bark beetle beats forest retreat
10:32 CEST+02:00
The dreaded spruce bark beetle has lived the life of Riley in forests destroyed by Storm Gudrun in January 2005. But there are now signs that the ravaging beetle's long rampage is over for the time being.

The small creepy-crawly has caused damage estimated at over one billion kronor ($140 million) to spruce timber felled in the wake of the storm. Last year alone the beetle feasted on 700,000 cubic metres.

But when the National Board of Forestry (Skogsstyrelsen) last checked its traps in the vicinity of Emmaboda in southern Sweden only a small number of the pests were found, according to local newspaper Barometern.

"There were only 24," confirmed Lars Carlsson at the board to the newspaper.

Just a year ago the story was very different. Almost 40,000 of the hungry mites were caught over a three week period in nearby Prämboda and the board issued a warning for an impending explosion in numbers.

The threat posed by the bark beetle is now reported to have waned.

"Yes, if nothing out of the ordinary occurs, such as major storms or drought. If that is the case then we can count on the situation returning to normal," Lars Carlsson said.

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