The cold snap could help cut down on Alaska’s spruce bark beetle infestation.

University of Alaska Fairbanks agriculture professor Steve Brown said the subzero temperatures won’t eliminate the beetle population but it will help kill off a significant portion of the pests.

Brown said the longer the cold stretch, the better. He said the fewer beetles we start with in the spring means the trees have a better chance of not being a target for the bugs.

“The warm winters we’ve had the last few years really favor survival of the spruce bark beetle populations. It’s possible the infestation in the Valley is so bad because of those warm winters,” Brown said.

Foresters estimate spruce beetles have killed trees on an estimated six million acres in the Mat-Su.

Last summer, the Matanuska Electric Association crews spent weeks clearing dangerous trees from powerlines.

Alaska State Parks closed two campgrounds over concerns the high concentration of dead trees could harm people camping in the area.

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