Friday, December 7, 2012

Beetles released to attack invasive species

By KEITH WHITCOMB JR. / Bennington Banner

POWNAL, VT -- About two millimeters long and appearing as black specks, the town's newest 379 residents are here to hopefully stay and perhaps eat a few unwelcome newcomers.

On Thursday, two people from the Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation released nearly 400 Laricobius nigrinus (small black beetle) onto four hemlock trees on Mason Hill Road, near the Massachusetts state line and next to a tributary to the Hoosic River. Jim Esden, forestry specialist for the department, said he hopes the adult beetles will survive the winter and feed off the hemlock woolly adelgid, an aphid-like insect that has been spreading slowly northward and was reported in Pownal over the summer.

The adelgid is an invasive species and threatens the health of hemlock trees, said Esden. The small black beetle, a native of the Pacific northwest, eats nothing but adelgids and follows a similar life cycle, being active in the winter when it is not too cold and remaining largely dormant in the hot summer. Esden said chemicals can be used to kill adelgids, but biological controls have their advantages.

"Because this is a water supply area, we didn't want to use chemicals," Esden said.

The four hemlock trees sit off Mason Hill Road on property owned by Williamstown, Mass. Esden said the water source serves as an emergency supply for Williamstown, making the chemical option less than desirable. ...

Barbara Burns, forest health program manager for the department, placed about 100 beetles on each hemlock tree, which were selected for their health and adelgid infestation. She said the beetles need enough adelgids to eat, otherwise their population will not take hold. She said the beetles released Thursday were grown in a lab by Virginia Tech, Va., however their ancestors are from Idaho. They came in small tubes, roughly 100 beetles to a tube, and were gathered on white shreds of paper for placement onto each tree.

Esden said the beetles only eat adelgids and nothing in this area specifically preys upon the beetles, so the odds are fair they will not all be eaten by spring. He said this same type of thing was done three years ago in Windham County, but it that is not enough time to tell if the beetles are working. He said their use has been documented in the past and shown to work, and while they are slow to take effect, the spread of the adelgid is not fast, either. According to Burns, the beetles' presence in Pownal is the first time they have been seen in Bennington County. ...

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Maryland takes aim at invasive plants - New regulations will lead to ban on some species

by Holly Nunn, staff writer

Marylanders may know about kudzu, the invasive ivy that can be seen choking trees along highways from Texas to New England. But there are species imported from other regions or countries that also threaten the native landscape, and the Maryland Department of Agriculture is proposing regulations to identify and rank floral invaders.

In 2011, the General Assembly passed legislation establishing the Invasive Plants Advisory Committee, charging that committee with establishing a framework for assessing how much risk a given species poses to the environment.

The framework chosen by the committee is based on the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s weed risk assessment protocol, but also will take into account Maryland-specific risks.

The federal framework ranks a plant’s potential to spread, its economic impact and its risk of changing the environment or affecting human health.

Based on the risk assessment that the department adopts, invasive plants will be designated as either Tier 1 or Tier 2.

Under the regulations, Tier 1 plants will be banned from being sold, and Tier 2 plants will require labeling at the retail level. Landscapers also will be required to notify their clients of any Tier 2 plants being used, said Carol Holko, the Maryland Department of Agriculture assistant secretary for plant industries and pest management and a committee member. ...

“The department is taking public comment on the risk assessment regulations until Dec. 17.

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1 comment:

Tree Removal Brooklyn said...

Good, banning of some species will more then likely stop so many invasive species from surviving so often whenever they invade.

-Samudaworth Tree Service