BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — Bismarck’s Forestry Division has announced that the city is beginning its annual search for the wintering and breeding habitats of Elm Bark Beetles as part of an ongoing fight to save Bismarck’s elm trees.

Bismarck has always been determined to keep their elm trees safe. In the years since Bismarck first identified a case of Dutch Elm Disease in the city, there has only been one year in which tree losses to the disease have amounted to over 1% of the total population — and the Forestry Division intends to keep it that way.

“We attribute our success in fighting to save Bismarck’s elm trees to three main factors,” said Bismarck City Forester Doug Wiles in a press release. “Diligent inspections in the summer to identify diseased trees, quick removal of diseased trees from the urban forest once they are identified as a positive host for the fungus that causes Dutch Elm Disease, and eliminating the overwintering and breeding habitat of Elm Bark Beetles by enforcing the required debarking or disposal of dead elm wood and stumps.”

This yearly investigation is another part of the division’s attempts to protect the trees. City foresters and arborists have already begun searching Bismarck for piles of firewood that may contain elm wood. If elm wood is found, the pile containing it will be marked with orange paint. Owners of these marked piles will be asked to debark, burn, or otherwise dispose of the wood (which could be a wintering habitat) within ten days of notification.

In addition to the paint markings, notices will also be left at the property of individuals who have wood piles containing elm wood, which will describe the lifestyle and practices of the Elm Bark Beetle, as well as how to properly identify elm among other common types of firewood found in ND. This is part of an ongoing effort to help raise awareness of the problem — as an NDSU Extension Publication on Dutch Elm Disease states, “A few elm logs secreted away by one homeowner who does not understand the importance of the problem can undo all attempts at thorough sanitation and watchful disease surveillance for an area of several city blocks.”

To learn more about the dangers to elm trees and the steps Bismarck is taking to fight against them, visit this page.