It’s a Bug Eat Bug World in Coastal Maine
An invasion of wooly adelgids is chewing through hemlock trees in Maine. They came over via boat from Japan on a supply of lumber that was untreated, and have for the past two decades been moving up the coast. Thankfully, another Japanese bug, a predator beetle known as Sasajiscymnus tsugae, is being successfully used to halt adelgids in their tiny tracks.
The only food source for these tiny black beetles is, in fact, the adelgid, so they are pleased as punch when set loose on infested hemlock tree.
Forest entomologists have been using the predatory creature, related to the ladybug, for the past decade.
Maine Forest Service staff took a hike recently to release 3,600 tsugae. Carrying containers full of hundreds of the tiny black beetles, the team released them using several methods. They need to be swept among the leaves, or coaxed forward and upward with a paintbrush to avoid injury.
The lady beetles love the sun, so they tend to climb up the tree and, on the way, find plenty of food in the form of wooly adelgids.