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Monday, April 1, 2013

Biocontrol against hemlock wooly adelgid shows hope

Laricobius osakensis, a beetle species from Osaka, Japan, that preys almost exclusively on the hemlock woolly adelgid, is being tested in Virginia, where researchers have nicknamed it "Larry".

A Virginia Tech researcher has a couple of test projects in the souther Appalachian Mountains, "to determine if the beetle is thriving, but more importantly to find out if the adelgid population is decreasing. ... To make a lasting impact, Salom said, the team must also work out an efficient way to breed the new beetle in mass quantities in the laboratory, and determine the most effective way to introduce it into eastern forests." So reports the Roanoke (Va.) Times.

The hemlock wooly adelgid is one of three major tree-eating pests that New Hampshire is worried about, along with Asian longhorend beetle and the emerald ash borer. I heard alot about them at the recent Science Pub in Lebanon.

Biocontrols are the best way to control invasive species, but introducing a predator rarely works or, worse, it backfires.