JOHN DAY – Remember the “snow storms in summer” – the flurries of pine white butterflies – last year?

Forest experts are offering a tour on Friday, July 27, of the area on the Malheur National Forest that has been affected by the pine butterfly, which have been on the increase in recent years.

The outbreak and resulting defoliation has been noticeable in Grant and Harney counties, where defoliation increased about eightfold from 2010 to 2011.

Extension forester Bob Parker said officials aren’t sure what the population will do in 2012, but the tour will offer a good opportunity to see the insect and the damage and learn about this defoliator.

The tour will visit locations to see insect larvae and feeding habits and discuss the biology, ecology, damage impacts and trends, identification, management alternatives and challenges. It also will look at the differences between the pine sawfly and pine butterfly, and touch on a new research project on the pine butterfly that is getting under way.

Tour instructors include forest health specialists from OSU, the Oregon Department of Forestry, and the Forest Service.

Please call the OSU Extension Service at 541-575-1911 to RSVP for the tour. Participants should bring their own lunch and water.

The tour, from 9 a.m. to about 4 p.m., will carpool from the ODF parking lot at 415 Patterson Bridge Road in John Day.

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