South Carolina Forestry Commission
News Release

May 21, 2003


(COLUMBIA, SC) - Tree damage from southern pine beetles is expected to generally decline this summer according to a Forestry Commission survey just completed. Of 31 counties surveyed, only Cherokee and Pickens Counties are expected to experience high beetle populations.

While the overall situation appears to be improving, sporadic beetle activity is expected throughout most of the piedmont. Experts warn that localized "hot spots" may occur even in counties whose overall level of activity is low.

Total losses to South Carolina landowners this year may be in the $25-$35 million range. Predictions, based on insect population samples, are about 80% accurate according to Forestry Commission scientist Andy Boone.

Coastal counties have not been hard hit in the current five-year-long epidemic, but Boone warned coastal landowners to be vigilant this summer. Historically, southern pine beetle epidemics in the coastal plain come on the heels of climatological changes, especially when drought gives way to excessively wet conditions.

More information on southern pine beetles is available by contacting your local Forestry Commission office or on the web at


Editors/News Directors

Statewide Southern Pine Beetle Predictions

High Population: Cherokee, Pickens

Moderate Population: Abbeville, Edgefield, Fairfield, Greenwood, Lancaster, Lexington, McCormick, Newberry, Oconee, Richland, Saluda, York

Low Population: Anderson, Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Chester, Colleton, Dorchester, Georgetown, Greenville, Hampton, Horry, Jasper, Kershaw, Laurens, Spartanburg, Union, Williamsburg

For more information, contact: Ken Cabe, 803-896-8820

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