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Attention Landowners: Be Cautious of Miracle Cures for Mountain Pine Beetle




                                      For Immediate Release: October 7, 2011

                                                Media Contact: Coe Foss, 605-394-2395


Attention Landowners: Be Cautious of “Miracle Cures” for Mountain Pine Beetle


RAPID CITY, S.D. -- Many landowners in the Black Hills are concerned that mountain pine beetles will attack the pine trees surrounding their homes. While homeowners want to protect these trees from the beetles, they should be careful to use only methods that have been independently tested, proven to be effective, and are registered pesticides labeled for bark beetle control. 


An increasing number of ‘miracle cures’ are being offered to homeowners to either protect their trees from attack or save infested trees once they been attacked, according to State Forester, Ray Sowers, with the South Dakota Department of Agriculture. 


Many of these products claim to protect trees by either increasing the amount of pitch the tree produces or they claim to infect beetles with a disease that eventually kills them.  There has been no independent testing of products that increase the amount of pitch a tree produces.  Microbial treatments, either sprayed on the trunk, injected into the tree, or applied as a soil drench, to infect the beetles have also not demonstrated any effectiveness in killing mountain pine beetles in ponderosa pines.  Furthermore, many of these microbial products are not registered pesticides and cannot be applied in our state.


“There are no known treatments that will save a tree once it has become infested with mountain pine beetles. There are no registered insecticides that can be applied on the bark, injected into a tree, or placed around the base of a pine tree, a soil drench, that will save a tree once the beetles are inside a tree,” noted Sowers.


The only effective way to protect a pine tree from mountain pine beetles is to spray the trunk of a tree before the tree has been infested. Certain formulations of carbaryl (Sevin SL), permethrin (Astro) or bifenthrin (Onyx) may be effective if sprayed on trees in May or June before beetle flights begin. These chemicals have been registered in South Dakota and specifically labeled for use in the control of bark beetles.


The Black Hills Forest Initiative is designed to prevent the tiny insect pest from destroying the forest and its communities by increasing awareness of the problem; engaging homeowners and businesses; coordination of state, county and federal partners; and increasing those resources used to deal with the problem. For additional information on addressing mountain pine beetles in the Black Hills, visit www.BeattheBeetles.com.


Agriculture is South Dakota's No. 1 industry, generating nearly $21 billion in annual economic activity and employing over 143,000 South Dakotans.  The South Dakota Department of Agriculture's mission is to promote, protect, preserve and improve this industry for today and tomorrow.  Visit us online at http://sdda.sd.gov or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


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