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Mountain Pine Beetle Flight to Start in another Week



For Immediate Release: July 11, 2012
Media Contact: Greg Josten, 605-394-2395


Mountain Pine Beetle Flight to Start in another Week

PIERRE, S.D. - Mountain pine beetles are set to begin their annual flight in another week.


"Our forest health team has been monitoring development of the beetles. They detected pioneer beetles beginning their flight this week,” said Ray Sowers, State Forester with the South Dakota Department of Agriculture.


Pioneer beetles are the first mature mountain pine beetles to emerge each season. Those beetles often begin flying a week or two before the main flights begin.


"We expect the mountain pine beetles to begin their mass attacks on trees sometime near the middle of this month, about a week ahead of normal," Sowers said.  "The flight will probably peak just before Sturgis Rally week and begin tapering down with sporadic flights into September."


Mountain pine beetle populations have been increasing for the past decade, and another large flight is expected this year. The beetle has only one flight a year in the Black Hills, beginning in July and ending in September.  While there have been numerous reports of earlier beetle flights, those early flights were either turpentine beetles or pine engraver beetles, which are two other bark beetles related to mountain pine beetles but generally not as destructive.

Once the pine beetles begin to fly, it is too late to spray. The insecticides available for managing the mountain pine beetle are designed to kill the beetles as they land to attack trees.  They will not kill beetles that have already entered the tree nor will the insecticides kill beetles as they emerge from dead trees.


For more information on mountain pine beetles, visit www.beatthebeetles.com


Agriculture is South Dakota's No. 1 industry, generating nearly $21 billion in annual economic activity and employing more than 80,000 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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*Sowers (SOW’-urz)