- Associated Press - Thursday, November 12, 2015

SHERIDAN, Wyo. (AP) - Crews are working to thin areas of the Bighorn National Forest that have been infected with mountain pine beetles.

The Sheridan Press reports (https://bit.ly/1O4C9aE ) that crews have spent the last week thinning the forest area west of Dayton. The project is being supported by a federal grant.

Forester Chris Thomas says the trees are dying off because of the blue stain fungi, which lives on the mountain beetle under a symbiotic relationship. The fungus softens the wood, helping the beetle to dig deeper into the tree, which then releases sap as an unsuccessful defense.

The infected trees remain green through winter and into spring, but will eventually die from the fungus by summertime.

Beetle activity in the Bighorn Mountains is relatively low compared to other areas in the state.

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Information from: The Sheridan (Wyo.) Press, https://www.thesheridanpress.com/

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