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The Log Wizard: Another Tool For Bark Beetle Control

by Darren McAvoy, Forestry Extension Associate
See below for a product demonstration video.

The Log Wizard is an attachment that converts a chainsaw into a debarking tool. Typically it has been used by ranchers, portable sawmill operators and log home builders to prepare logs to create a product, but now forest entomologists have started to apply them to bark beetle control efforts.

The Forest Health Protection office of the USDA Forest Service in Ogden recently used Log Wizards in one phase of a beetle control project on the Utah State University School Forest. The process began in November of 2002 when Scott Bushman of the Logan Hotshot Crew felled 20 live spruce “trap trees” to attract the growing spruce beetle populations. These were prime beetle bait, as spruce beetles prefer dead and dying trees, and the bark beetles in the area readily colonized the logs. The next step was to either treat the log to kill the beetles, or to remove the logs from the forest before the beetles fly onto new trees in the spring. In some cases the equipment costs associated with getting a few logs out of the woods is impractical and treatment should be considered.

log wizard

Treatment options are limited, especially when lacking the assistance of heavy equipment. Burning the logs has been a preferred treatment option, but burning green spruce can be difficult, and heavily dependent on weather conditions to be safe and successful. The option of mechanically debarking a tree in a remote location away from roads increases a forest manager’s ability to temporarily control beetle populations.

The Log Wizard attaches to the end of a standard chainsaw bar, and requires two holes to be drilled through the end of the bar. Also needed is a saw chain that is about two inches longer than normal to accommodate the sprocket system on the tool. This may require breaking a special chain and committing a bar to this purpose. It uses standard 3 1/4 planer blades that can be sharpened or replaced. It weighs under 3 pounds, and costs around $200.

Although this approach does not address the bigger issue of forest structure (See UFN Summer 03) it may be a reasonable and cost effective way to manage beetle populations when the trees cannot be removed from the woods.

For more information contact your local saw shop or logwizard.

Thanks to Al Dymerski and the Forest Health Protection staff, and the Logan Interagency Hotshot Fire Suppression Crew, USDA Forest Service.

Log Wizard Demonstration