Thousands of Beetles Released in Monroe County

PARADISE TOWNSHIP, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) - How do you control a destructive insect whose population is only growing? By fighting nature with nature!

Pocono Heritage Land Trust acquired several preserves to help protect the Paradise Creek and waterways leading to it. Hemlock trees help shade the streams and keep wild trout cool.

"They stabilize the stream bank areas and forest around the stream so you don't get sediment washing into the stream," explains Don Miller of Pocono Heritage Land Trust.

But a tiny, invasive insect called the Wolly Adelgid is attacking Hemlocks.

"It has a piercing mouth part they insert into the tissue of the tree," says Jayme Boniewicz, Biologist with Tree Savers.

The insect sucks out nutrients, causing needles to fall off. Trees can die within years of an infestation.

"The land trust doesn't like using herbicides or insecticides," Miller says.

So they found another way to fight the insects. With 3,000 little beetles!

"The biggest ones are the size of a sesame seed, the smallest the size of a poppy seed," Boniewicz adds.

A company called Tree Savers released the beetles, which attach to Hemlocks and eat Wooly Aldegid egg sacks year-round. The beetles then mate and lay their own eggs on the tree.

"The adults natural progression as they breed is to fly higher into the canopy and to neighboring trees," Boniewicz explains.

The goal is for beetle populations to grow throughout the Nature Preserve, keeping pests in check and the hemlocks standing strong.

Experts say beetles are harlmess to Hemlocks, and don't pose any threat to the environment.


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