The Wasatch Front is in danger because of tiny insects that have been invading Utah since 2017.  

A recent report for the University of Utah details how a European insect is wreaking havoc on Utah subalpine fir trees. The balsam wooly adelgid may sound like a cute fuzzy creature but they are most definitely not. Since they were discovered in the beehive state in 2017, these insects have been killing trees in warmer temperatures.

They leave behind a trail of destruction and a sickly-looking forest.  

Though it may take years for a tree to die from a balsam wooly adelgid the evidence exists. Subalpine fir trees are the insect's favorite food and they feed on the tree’s nutrients. Leaving behind a toxin from their mucus, the wooly insect finally finished off the tree.  

Researchers from the University of Utah have said that climate change is playing a role in insect infestation. If trends continue to keep up, the damage to the Wasatch Front could be tremendous.  

Unfortunately,” said Mickey Campbell, a research assistant professor at the University of Utah’s Department of Geography, “the story is not very optimistic when it comes to the potential future effects of balsam wooly adelgid on subalpine fir trees in our region.”—Salt Lake Tribune 

If average temperatures continue to rise, so will the balsam wooly adelgid population.  

“It’s really pretty widespread at this point throughout the central and northern Wasatch,” Campbell said, “it’s just a question of degrees of severity at this point.” 

Currently, there are no widespread solutions but there are tools that forest managers are using to try and keep the infestation levels down.  

More From B-921