Pine Beetle Kills Thousands of Acres of Trees in Colorado… But the Blue-ish Wood is Gorgeous!

Mountain Pine BeetleIf you’ve had the fortune of visiting Colorado’s high country – especially Summit County – over the past few years, you’ve probably noticed all of the dead pine trees. You can’t blame this one on drought, but instead, a tiny little black beetle living just under the bark. According to Colorado State forestry officials, an estimated 750,000 acres of trees have been killed by the Mountain Pine Beetle… and this is just the beginning. But now we’re starting to see the creative, entrepreneurial spirit of people who are finding great uses for the “pine kill” wood.

I stopped in at Mi Cocina (one of my favorite local Mexican restaurants in Littleton, Colorado) this morning for a breakfast burrito only to find this surprise… brand new floors made from beetle-kill wood. While the pictures don’t do the color of the wood justice, the blue-ish tint of the wood is stunning. Biologists tells us that the blue-ish color comes from a bluestain fungi introduced by the beetle. This fungi disables the tree’s defenses and interrupts the flow of water. The combination of fungi and beetle feeding rapidly kills the tree. Ten to twelve months after a successful attack, infested tree foliage turns yellowish to reddish. Soon after, the beetles are ready to exit and search for a new home.

I have a feeling that we’ll be seeing more and more this beautiful wood showing up in furniture and flooring throughout Colorado… or wherever else the bad little beetle decides to wipe out entire forests!

More about the Mountain Pine Beetle featured on Science Mondays at 9News…


This is not the first “green” initiative for the Littleton-based Mi Cocina Restaurant. Several years ago, the owners installed photovoltaic cells over their patio area to generate enough electricity to light part of their customer seating area. The beetle-kill floor is just their latest initiative to promote a more “green” eating environment… and based on my way of thinking, it’s working!

November 30, 2010

Littleton, Colorado – A new beetle-kill floor has been installed at Mi Cocina Mexican Restaurant in Littleton, Colorado. It is the first such application of beetle-kill pine flooring in a restaurant in the United States.

Information from The Beetle-kill Trade Association says that today we are in a disaster situation demanding immediate unity but it is harder to see since the disaster we are facing is coming at us at a glacier’s pace. We have too much time to discuss it, too much time to analyze it, and too much time to assume that someone else is doing something about it. Lily Tomlin was once quoted saying, “I always wondered why someone didn’t do something about that. Then I realized I was someone.”

There are 3.5 million acres of beetle-kill pine in Colorado, and we are not alone in this disaster.  Trees from Alaska to British Columbia and south through the Rocky Mountain region are being destroyed due to this formidable foe.  It is imperative to develop beetle-kill pine products and get new forests growing again. A sad ecological story can be turned into something eco-friendly and beautiful! To find out more go to

Using beetle-kill pine, also called blue-stain wood, fits in with the green-building standard. This unique wood is being used for furniture, log homes, firewood, wood beams, cabinetry, and paneling. The application at Mi Cocina is an innovative use for beetle-kill pine products…a commercial floor.

The new floor at Mi Cocina is environmentally friendly, not only because of the wood used, but the floors are finished with water base BonaKemi; 1 coat BonaSeal and 3 coats BonaTraffic.

The floor is in a public building so people can come in and see it at any time. Install it in your own home.

Get even with the Mountain Pine Bark Beetle!

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  1. […] He loves to chop and stack wood (can you believe it?)! He has chopped down about 1000 pine trees killed by mountain pine beetle . […]

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