South Dakota forestry officials say trees infested by mountain pine beetles produce lumber that is as strong and durable as wood from non-infested trees.
State Forester Ray Sowers says beetles carry a fungus that causes blue stains in lumber made from trees infested by the insects. But he says the blue stain does not hurt the quality of wood or pose any health threat to people.
Sowers say blue-stained lumber does not decay any faster than unstained wood and will not cause mold. Lumber companies remove green trees infested with beetles and process them into boards. Officials say that helps fight beetles by preventing other trees from becoming infested.
State Agriculture Secretary Walt Bones says people should buy blue-stained boards to help fight beetles in the Black Hills.