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What is Beetle Kill Pine?

There are hundreds of millions of acres of trees spread throughout the United States and Canada that have been killed by the Mountain Pine Beetle. These trees are known as Beetle Kill Pine trees. Although the circumstances may seem unfortunate, these trees are salvageable and in high demand for their unique hue and quality. 

When the Mountain Pine Beetles dig their way into the trees, they lay their eggs and block the flow of nutrients and water within the pine. Ultimately, this kills the trees from the inside out. The beetles introduce a fungus into the lumber that discolors it and causes the material to have a distinct blue tint. 

Salvaging Beetle Kill Pine

Once the pests have infested and devastated the lives of these trees, the lumber will slowly begin to decay and eventually fall to the ground. If harvested within 5 years, the wood of these trees can be recovered and continue to sequester carbon. When the beetle kill pine trees and are left to die, they become fuel for wildfires and release their carbon back into the atmosphere, resulting in near increased levels of greenhouse gasses. 

The distinct blue discoloration in this lumber is purely cosmetic and has no effect on the overall function of the wood. The fungus is generally blue but can range in hue to purple, brown, orange, yellow, red, and sometimes even pink. This unique feature of beetle kill pine wood is what draws so many people to implement it in their home or business. 

Beetle Kill Pine Uses

The reclaimed look and feel of beetle kill pine is distinctive and acts as a great focal point for any space. Although the wood is not technically reclaimed, it is a material that has been recovered and saved from potentially harmful waste (much like reclaimed wood). Because of this, many people like to implement it in the form of an accent wall, flooring, siding, cabinetry, paneling, doors, and even in the form of furniture. It’s an ideal building material for those looking to buy lumber that is easy to maintain, won’t need repairs, and will last a while.

At Rocky Mountain Forest Products, we supply V Edge Tongue and Groove siding in 6” and 8”. We always have 60,000 linear feet of material on hand as an added convenience. For flooring, we carry 4”, 6”, and 8” wide planks that are all kiln-dried and sourced directly from mills. We also offer micro bevel edge, hand-hewn, and circle sawn finishes. If you’re considering a more specific or unique project, we can special order customized styles, cuts, and patterns directly from our mills. 

Is Beetle Kill Pine Safe?

Many people hoping to implement beetle kill pine into their residence are weary of the fungus and the fact that these trees were infested with bugs. We understand that the nature of this may be alarming for many, but after the beetle kill pine has gone through the manufacturing process to become a recovered building material, it is completely safe to use and durable enough to last. The lumber is subjected to heat treatment during manufacturing that ensures no creatures are left living on your new floors or walls. 

If and when you decide to incorporate beetle kill pine into your home or business, it’s important to allow time for the wood to acclimate. Because this kind of wood is generally considered a softwood, it will need to acclimate to the moisture levels in the area you’d like to install it. The amount of time that the beetle kill pine will take to acclimate varies greatly depending on your specific location and the space that you are considering it for. 

Designing with Beetle Kill Pine

The natural tone and creativity that beetle kill pine can add to a space is what draws so many people into purchasing it for themselves. No two pieces of wood are the same, so the opportunities for what you can accomplish when designing with this material are endless. The blue tint that comes with the large majority of this wood will look great paired with colors that blue usually goes well with. This can be oranges, greens, yellows, and anything that exudes warmth. Because of the natural finish that is included with beetle kill pine wood, it looks great in rustic and beachy aesthetic designs of a home. Implementing this material as flooring is a common design trend to make a space feel more cabin-like for a forest setting or cottage-like with a beachside feel.

For more information and resources on beetle kill pine, check out our other blogs where we consider it more in-depth and cover a wide range of topics. Reach out to us on social media or give us a call today to get started with your new beetle kill pine!