Mountain Pine Beetles have killed thousands of trees across the Missoula Ranger District and the planned spraying is finally set for June 3. Boyd Hartwig with the Missoula Ranger District said beetle spraying is mainly used to protect large, mature trees from Mountain Pine Beetle infestation, particularly this year, in the Pattee Canyon Picnic Area and Lee Creek off of Highway 12.

"The trees themselves will be sprayed to prevent Mountain Pine Beetle infestation," Hartwig said. "It's a deterrent, it's a sort of proactive thing that we do to prevent the pine beetles from occupying those trees and killing them. A lot of these trees are really large, mature, old trees that are nice and provide a lot of value to the area and also provides a good recreational experience. They're, of course, important to the ecosystem as well."

The public will be restricted from the areas where the work is ongoing or where it was recently completed to protect against exposure to the insecticide.

Signs advising people of the spraying and pending closure dates will be posted at each location once weather conditions allow for spraying and a start date is selected.

For current information on the spraying, contact the Missoula Ranger District office at (406) 329-3814.