THE dry pine insect, the Tomicus Piniperda, is attacking pine forests across the Sierra de Orihuela. Orihuela Town Hall recognised the concern of citizens but said they are limited in the action they can take as the land is owned by the Valencian Generalitat.
The only data available showed the beetle, which dries out the pines, had destroyed 1,140 trees in spring with estimates now putting that figure to be at more than 2,000.
Councillor for the Environment, Manuel Gallud, said traps were being put in place this week to trap the beetles but considered the action “insufficient” comparing to the beetle to the red palm weevil affecting palm trees, as it quickly spreads. He is calling for the dry pines to be removed to help prevent the beetle spreading and because of their increased fire risk.
In a report, the Regional Government recognised that the plague is also affecting other municipalities of the Vega Baja but specifies that “the damage to the Sierra de Orihuela is larger.”