CUSTER – U.S. Forest Service officials are reminding the public that logs from cut-and-chunk areas in the Black Hills National Forest should not be transported home or to campgrounds for personal use.
Cut-and-chuck is a treatment used to slow progression of the mountain pine beetle epidemic, and cut-and-chunk areas should not be considered as sources for firewood.
Cut-and-chunk refers to felling beetle-infested trees and cutting them into two-foot-long chunks. This treatment promotes drying, and can lead to high mortality rates for beetle larvae under the bark. The practice of cut-and-chunk has been shown to be approximately 80 percent effective in killing beetle larvae in infested trees.
“Taking these cut-and-chunk logs home or to a campground for use as firewood is not wise,” said Blaine Cook, Forest Silviculturist. “Any beetles that survive the cut-and-chunk treatment will likely move from these logs into healthy trees in your yard and on adjacent private property and public lands.”
The mountain pine beetle is native to North America and occurs from the Pacific Coast east to the Black Hills, and from British Columbia south to northern Mexico. Adult mountain pine beetles usually emerge from infested trees during middle to late summer, to lay eggs in new trees. The remainder of the beetle life cycle is completed under the bark of infested trees. Beetle larvae hatch and feed on tree phloem, adults feed within the bark. Felling beetle-infested trees, and chunking the boles, or trunks, into two-foot lengths promotes drying of the phloem and bark, and can result in high mortality rates for beetle larvae.
For more information on the Black Hills National Forest, visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/blackhills.