In rural areas and communities of the Black Hills, many landowner's trees are being killed by bark beetles.
Infestations of the pine engraver beetle (Ips pini) are now becoming more pronounced, and are being mistaken for the mountain pine beetle infestations in the Black Hills.
With the current drought and mild winters experienced in South Dakota, there has been an increase in ponderosa pine trees killed by the engraver.
Pine engraver beetles generally attack trees that are weakened, or stressed from environmental factors, and can often be found infesting recently cut green slush created from thinning, chipping, and pruning.
"About every hundred yards there's an ips loaded tree," said Frank Carroll, Forestry Advisor. "Now this year for the first time ips are rising in really strong numbers, and that happened in 2003, and in 2003 ips killed more trees than mountain pine beetles."
Urban foresters recommend maintaining proper soil moisture levels in urban settings, to ensure trees are not stressed.
A tree infested with engraver beetles differs from that of the mountain pine beetle. The engraver beetle makes it harder to identify by producing large amounts of very fine, usually rusted colored, dust.
The pine engraver beetles typically begin flying in late March or early April, and they go through three or four life cycles in a year.
For more information regarding bark beetle infestations, visit sdda.sd.gov/conservation-forestry/, or contact SDDA Division of Resource Conservation and Forestry at 605-394-2395, or an urban forester in your community.