Several hundred Norway spruces in the Leenderbos fell victim to the Letterzetter (European spruce bark beetle).
This is a half-centimeter insect that lives beneath the bark and leaves behind a large tunnel system. The result: hundreds of dead Norway spruces are cut down.
The trees in the forest are weakened by the dry summer. A Norway spruce makes resin to protect itself, but the drier it is, the less resin can be made. This gives the letterzetter free rein and the trees are seen as a tasty snack. “It feels like the box tree moth is eating a nice box-tree in your garden that you have cared for for years,” says forest ranger Erik Schram of Staatsbosbeheer.
Relatively few fine Norway spruces
The letterzetter eats his belly full under the bark of the Norway spruce. The tunnels it leaves behind look like letters or special characters. That is how the creature gets its name. ‘You can fight them, but there are relatively few Norway spruce trees here. So that doesn’t make much sense, “says Erik. ‘If you had a whole wood with Norway spruces, you would have lost your whole wood now. That is why we also plant diverse here and we use more and more trees that can withstand drought. ‘
The havoc is caused by a half-centimeter insect. Because of the tree felling, forest paths can be less accessible. With a so-called ‘Harvester’ the trees are sawn down like skewers. For example, furniture is made from the wood eventually.