Pine beetles fueling up for takeoff in the Black Hills - KOTA Territory News

Pine beetles fueling up for takeoff in the Black Hills

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In just a couple of months, Mountain Pine and Engraver Beetles will take flight in the Black Hills.

"You've got some fairly poor soil conditions," said Brian Garbisch of the U.S. Forest Service. "And then you add the draught on top of that and you have a lot of stressed trees."

Exterminators and forest specialist are saying now is the time for property owners to get their trees sprayed.  

"If it's epidemic proportions, like it is," said exterminator Bill Dittmer. "They'll attack almost anything."

Experts say if pesticides are applied incorrectly, or too late, trees are not safe from pine beetles, and property owners could end up spending thousands of dollars to clean up the mess from an infestation.

Spraying should be done before July, and if doing it yourself, cover the entire tree trunk, starting at the base and moving upwards.

Pesticides aren't always needed, but the current outbreak is happening at an inconvenient time.

"Because we're in draught conditions, the trees natural defense is to withstand the hits," said Dittmer. "They're just not making it."

Dittmer says prices for pesticides vary depending on the size of each tree, the amount you want protected, and water supply.

He says the average cost is between $11 and $21 per tree.

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