|Forrestry experts working to prevent future beetle outbreaks|
|Tuesday, 23 October 2012 16:17|
The Black Hills have lost more than 500,000 acres and perhaps 2 billion board feet of forest since the initial outbreak in the Beaver Park area near Sturgis 16 years ago. Pine beetles are to blame, and while experts agree that thinning trees is an effective tactic, some are looking into preventative measures, such as spraying standing trees with pesticides.
Forestry expert Frank Carroll says, "The spray actually kills any beetles that try to get into the trees. The spray that people use is very non-toxic, except to beetles, and the thinning really works well to keep the beetle populations down and the food source low, and open up the trees so that the beetles are not attracted to the trees." Landowners can also protect their property by thinning trees to 60 to 80 units per acre and mulching or pulling new growth.
Carroll says, "This is a huge problem and there's a whole lot of people that can pitch in and are pitching in to help. But we've got to do the work. If we don't do the work, the bugs will prevail, and we'll have outcomes we don't like." Once beetles attack a tree, there is no way to save it. The infestation spreads, and the forest is more susceptible to fire.