Mountain Pine Beetle Update

Since the mountain pine beetle (MPB) epidemic ended 7 years ago, USFS foresters and entomologists are beginning to observe an increase in mountain pine beetle (MPB) activity. Mountain pine beetles are a natural part of the Black Hills ecosystem, and the current activity is not cause for alarm. Groups of 3-8 infested trees are now being observed in some locations, particularly on steep, and sometimes inaccessible areas where habitat conditions still favor beetle activity.  This is a natural part of the cycle of this insect. 

Observed activity is very light and scattered, mostly located in the Northern Hills, from Lead to Hardy Guard Station, and areas further west, across the state line into WY.  Other parts of the forest still consist of rare, single tree attacks by MPB with Ips beetles causing additional mortality.

Forest Entomologists expect this increase to remain small and localized, and do not forecast a landscape level event, since most of the forest has been managed for low MPB susceptibility conditions. 

The public may begin noticing MPB affected trees. We are aware of the situation, monitoring the activity, and project minimal impacts.

MPB galleries Pitch tubes on green tree Old adult and larvae
MPB galleries Pitch tubes on green tree Old adult and larvae