With just 2,500 acres affected by pine beetles in 2016, the pine beetle epidemic in the Black Hills has ended, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. As noted in its 2016 Forest Health Report, the number of trees impacted by pine beetles in 2016 was significantly lower than the 15,000 affected acres in 2015. Over 94 percent of areas studied had low infestation levels in 2016.
Pine beetle infestations are not uncommon in the Black Hills region, although the most recent may have been the longest recorded at approximately 20 years. Typically lasting 8-13 years, epidemics have been recorded as early as 1890 in the region. Subsequent epidemics occurred in the 1930s, 1940s, 1960s and 1970s.