Forestry publications tell me that there are about 200 species of insects that prey on Ponderosa Pine. The woodpeckers that are successfully debarking a Ponderosa south of the house, and a couple of Western Larch to the north, have convinced me that some sort of bark beetle has successfully reproduced and left grubs working under the bark.
The NRCS publication on Ponderosa Pine is available at this link PONDEROSA PINE.Western larch is a Canadian publication that can be accessed with a click.
Idaho has a publication on bark beetles at Come spring, bark beetles may attack trees damaged in winter storms – Department of Lands
“Bark beetles are a group of insects that spend almost their entire life beneath the bark of trees. They tunnel in the moist inner bark, lay eggs and these develop into larvae or grubs. The tunneling kills trees by girdling them (cuts off the supply of nutrients). Adults emerge later to infest other trees in late spring or early summer. For more information, please see the IDL bark beetle fact sheet.”
With the work around a new house, the dense timber that is just now being thinned, and last year’s hot, dry summer, the trees are stressed – and obviously, the insects are moving in on the stressed trees. Fortunately, the little sawmill is ready (well, it will need the Spring leveling) to turn these stressed trees into lumber, and there is always the option of firewood.