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Cut And Chunk Used To Kill Pine Beetles

April 16, 2012, 10:14 PM by Derek Olson

Cut And Chunk Used To Kill Pine Beetles
CUSTER, SD -

It was a busy day for forest workers in Custer County where they're dealing with trees infested by pine beetles.

"It is expanding; it's at epidemic levels in some parts of the county and endemic levels in other parts," Custer County Weed and Pest Supervisor Bill Kirsch said.

Once the infested trees are identified, officials need to determine what to do with them.

"There's different treatment methods; cut and chunk, cut and wrap, cut and chip," Kirsch said.

Cut and chunk is where infested trees are felled and cut into sections no longer than 24 inches.

The pieces of cut up wood are left on the forest floor, killing more than 80-percent of the bugs.  And although this may look like a great source for free firewood, officials are urging people to let it be.

"Really discourage people from removing this wood until September or October because they would just be spreading beetles to maybe their back yard if they're not careful," U.S. Forest Service District Ranger Lynn Kolund said.

Because, just as the local, state, and federal authorities are working together to battle the bugs, private citizens are just as important in winning the fight.

"Together we can make a difference and we can do more with our partners," Kolund said.

"I think it's getting better.  It's going to be a long-term problem that we all need to continue to deal with," Kirsch said.

For more information on what you can do to identify and treat infested trees on your property visit South Dakota's Beat The Beetles website.

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