Hunting trees infested by bark beetles

Anette Johansson and her dogs have a busy schedule. Together they hunt down trees that are infested with bark beetles.

“The dogs can smell them from several hundred metres away,” she says.

Johansson operates the company SnifferDogs Sweden, and is one of six dog handlers in the country working to find trees infested by bark beetles.

“The dogs find the damaged trees much faster than people,” she says, demonstrating her dogs’ skills at SkogsElmia.

Close to her stand are some infested trees. When she lets her dog loose, it’s like firing a heat-seeking torpedo. In no time at all, the problem trees are identified.

“Bark beetles communicate with pheromones, and that scent leads the dogs straight to it,” she says.

A human being would have had difficulty finding the infested trees. At the beginning of an infestation, the only signs are tiny entry holes plus fine sawdust around the tree trunks where the insects have chewed. The dogs are far more effective thanks to their superior sense of smell.

SnifferDogs has successfully hunted bark beetle trees for several years, including for the county councils of Jönköping Västmanland Counties, primarily in and around nature reserves.

Published
6/8/2019
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“The dog finds the bark beetles faster and with more precision,” says Anette Johansson.
“The dog finds the bark beetles faster and with more precision,” says Anette Johansson.