An hypothesis that there is a fundamental relationship between the epidemiology of Denderoctonus frontalis Zimn. and the occurence of lightning in pine forests of the southern U.S. is presented. Evidence to support the hypothesis is provided through an examination of 1. historical information on the association of bark beetles and lightning struck pines. 2. the effects of lightning on trees, and 3. the association of thunderstorm frequency and distibution and the incidence of cloud to ground lightning strikes. The hypothesis is interpreted by examination of 1. foraging strategy of D. frontalis and defense strategies of host pines, 2. climatic release of populations, and 3. disturbance theory in ecology.