from KEVN Black Hills Fox:
After two decades of excessive amounts of pine beetles in the Black Hills, the epidemic has come to an end.
The Forest Health report says about 25-hundred acres were affected by the pine beetle last year, as opposed to the 17-thousand acres the year before.
So, U.S. Forest Service officials say the battle against the mountain pine beetle is over, for now.
Numbers of the bug have fallen from ‘epidemic’ levels to normal levels.
Kurt Allen, Entomologist for the U.S. Forest Service says, “The mountain pine beetle is a native insect and has always been here in the Black Hills. So we’re always going to have a few dead trees here and there. The beetles are always going to be here. But for the last 20 years or so, they’ve been really elevated in their numbers and obviously killing a lot more trees than they normally do.”
Allen says it’s a combination of forest thinning efforts and predatory insects that likely brought levels of the bug down in the Black Hills.