It’s a Goopy Mess When Pines and Beetles Duke it Out | Deep Look

by birtanpublished on September 6, 2020

This episode of deep look is brought to you by curiosity stream behold the mighty ponderosa pine nearly a hundred feet tall it rises above it all right except for this little guy the size of a grain of rice the Western pine beetle is the nemesis of millions of Ponderosa

Across California and she's on a mission get into this pine tree as she starts pouring in it looks like the tree is just standing there helpless but a secret weapon flows beneath its bark

It's not sap its resin the trees defense as the beetle digs the tree uses resin the beetle fights the deluge going in and out in and out to keep the pathway clear

They trap air under their wings like a scuba diver so they can breathe even when they're completely coated it's a battle of endurance if the tree is healthy it can produce so much resin that the beetle gets exhausted and

Trapped as it hardens but when there's a drought and the trees aren't getting much water they simply can't make enough she gets in and sends out pheromones to call her friends they

Go straight to one of the trees most vital tissues the phloem a super thin layer under the bark the phloem moves nutrients around the tree it's a little bit like our blood vessels the beetles eat their way through it

Carving these winding tunnels which is why their nickname is drunken beetles eventually they cut off the flow of nutrients and the tree dies millions of trees if it's a serious drought and the beetles do even more

Damage they've laid their eggs inside the tunnels after their larvae hatch they wiggle their way out into the bark and finish growing their there isn't much to eat in the bark but Western pine beetle larvae come prepared with their

Own lunch boxes see that white fluffy stuff around this larva it's a fungus its mother carried into the tree a continually growing food supply once the larvae mature tens of thousands of them bust out of the tree and fly off

To find new Pines to try to start their own families will the beetles succeed or will the trees bite them off it'll all depend on the weather water is what tips the scale in this long-running struggle this episode is brought to you by

Curiosity stream subscription streaming service that offers documentaries and nonfiction titles from some of the world's best filmmakers including exclusive originals want to learn more about beetles and other insects

Curiosity streams video series insect dissection investigates how insects evolved to dominate our world to get unlimited access and your first two months free sign up in curiosity Stream comm slash deep look and use the promo

Code deep look during the signup process hi there it's Lauren again Wow that larva is really moving make sure not to miss any crazy behaviors from the natural world and sign up for deep looks email newsletter also don't forget to

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