The Black Hills Bark Beetle Caper Denouement

Nov. 5, 2017 – Jan. 12, 2018

When Darrell and I left south Dakota in October 2013, we figured that a warrant for our arrest for trespass on Federal property had been issued and it would be a good idea if we didn’t return to the state of South Dakota any time soon.

But, Darrell took sick and we wanted to get together for our last roundup. Art Janklow III gratefully lent us one of his cabins at Mystery Mountain for a week. We figured that, under the circumstances it would be bad form if the authorities arrested a sick 77-year old U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran. So, I flew up from Louisiana and May, Darrell’s wife, drove him in from Laurel, Montana to Rapid City.

We had dinner in town, toured the museum/store called “Prairie Edge” and drove down to Hot Springs to take the waters. We drove up the spine of the Black Hills around US-385 up to Deadwood for lunch at Deadwood Dick’s Saloon. Throughout all of that driving, we could not see a single beetle-killed Ponderosa pine tree anywhere in the Black Hills. The forest around our two BHNF trespass sites appeared to be healing. We concluded that “our fungus” had spread from the 3 treatment areas by wind currents and killed every bark beetle in the entire Black Hills.

How is this possible? We know that “our fungus” is a generalist when it comes to killing insects in the egg stage. In October, most of the bark beetles exist in the egg stage under the bark of pine trees. Also, we know from the 2002 study, that “our fungus” can somehow penetrate 2-inch-thick pine bark and kill beetle grubs in the cambium. From studies at Mystery Mountain, we also know that “our fungus” can jump from an infested, treated, marked pine tree to an infested, untreated pine tree nearby in a subsequent year. Finally, we know that “our fungus” aggressively attacks and kills members of family Homoptera. It multiplies in their bodies and is spread by air currents. In the 2013 treatment, I noted about 10 acres of Choke Cherry in the under-story of the pines at Mystery Mountain that were grossly infested with occluded scale. I sprayed these along with infested, marked (with diamonds) pine trunks. These Choke Cherry trees are clean and free of occluded scale today. Of course, all the infested pines of Mystery Mountain, sprayed in 2013 are still alive today. But, you can imagine a 10,000-fold increase in the number of spores floating about in the air, carried in all directions by the wind.

Darrell smiled and was happy. And he drove home with his wife, may. On December 27, 2017, Darrell passed away. His memorial service at the Yellowstone National Cemetery on January 12, 2018 was done with full military honors.

We are hated and despised by the forestry establishment of the U.S. Forest Service, the Black Hills National Forest and the State of South Dakota. I can tell you that this story is very unlikely to be told anywhere except in this website.

Adrian S. Juttner

 

Darrell and May Mangus with Art Janklow III at Mystery Mountain, November 2017.

 

Darrell and Adrian on our last roundup Mystery Mountain, S.D., November 2017

Darrell and Adrian on our last roundup Mystery Mountain, S.D., November 2017.

 

BHNF trespass area #1 at Mystic Junction Survivor trees. No new beetle hits. Young trees coming up to replace the dead. The forest is healing.

BHNF trespass area #1 at Mystic Junction Survivor trees. No new beetle hits. Young trees coming up to replace the dead. The forest is healing.

 

Sunrise: A new dawn at Mystery Mountain.

Sunrise: A new dawn at Mystery Mountain.

 

Ponderosa pine tree at Mystery Mountain infested, treated in 2013 and marked with a diamond. Alive and healthy today.

Ponderosa pine tree at Mystery Mountain infested, treated in 2013 and marked with a diamond. Alive and healthy today.

 

Choke Cherry in the understory at Mystery Mountain. Infested with occluded scale and sprayed in 2013. Clean and free of scale in November 2017.

Choke Cherry in the under-story at Mystery Mountain. Infested with occluded scale and sprayed in 2013. Clean and free of scale in November 2017.

 

Full military honors for MSG Darrell D. Mangus Yellowstone National Cemetery, laurel, Montana. January 12, 2018

Full military honors for MSG Darrell D. Mangus Yellowstone National Cemetery, Laurel, Montana. January 12, 2018

Black Hills Badlands Map (PDF, 1p, 66MB)