Hemlock – Field Insectories

Hemlock – Field Insectory

Eastern hemlock trees have been devastated by an invasive species of insect called the wooly adelgid. To combat the pest, scientists have imported a predator beetle that feeds only on the adelgid. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

Salom: This species of adelgid is specific to hemlock, and the Laricobius osakensis and the Laricobius nigrinus the two species they are specific predators of hemlock woolly adelgid. So they survive only on hemlock woolly adelgid, and we cannot feed it anything else that they will be able to survive on.

Scott Salom is a Professor of Forest Entomology at Virginia Tech. He says that the adelgid and one of the beetle species that preys on it, were found in Japan.

Salom: We bring the insects into a quarantine facility. And what we will do is not only study the biology of the insect, but we’ll then test it against other organisms that they may be faced with when they are released in the environment. And if we find that they will not successfully feed on these other organisms, then we would say that this insect that we are interested in is not a risk to those organisms.

After being the tested in quarantine, the predator beetles were first raised in lab insectaries. Over the years, they have been released at a number of sites in eastern forests, with the aim of the wild populations of beetles becoming self sustaining.

Salom: We can go back and collect these insects at the sites and then redistribute them to other sites. So, that’s the goal is to not have to rear them in the lab, but to be able to collect them at the sites. And this site here is supposed to be what we call a field insectary, where we in years from now, we can come back here and collect insects from this location and redistribute them to other locations.

So far, the predator beetles seem to be keeping the wooly adelgid in check; it’s hoped the hemlock forests will recover in time. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

Hemlock - Field Insectories

To combat an invasive insect pest, scientists have imported a predator beetle.
Air Date:12/01/2014
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Transcript:

Hemlock - Field Insectory

Eastern hemlock trees have been devastated by an invasive species of insect called the wooly adelgid. To combat the pest, scientists have imported a predator beetle that feeds only on the adelgid. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

Salom: This species of adelgid is specific to hemlock, and the Laricobius osakensis and the Laricobius nigrinus the two species they are specific predators of hemlock woolly adelgid. So they survive only on hemlock woolly adelgid, and we cannot feed it anything else that they will be able to survive on.

Scott Salom is a Professor of Forest Entomology at Virginia Tech. He says that the adelgid and one of the beetle species that preys on it, were found in Japan.

Salom: We bring the insects into a quarantine facility. And what we will do is not only study the biology of the insect, but we'll then test it against other organisms that they may be faced with when they are released in the environment. And if we find that they will not successfully feed on these other organisms, then we would say that this insect that we are interested in is not a risk to those organisms.

After being the tested in quarantine, the predator beetles were first raised in lab insectaries. Over the years, they have been released at a number of sites in eastern forests, with the aim of the wild populations of beetles becoming self sustaining.

Salom: We can go back and collect these insects at the sites and then redistribute them to other sites. So, that's the goal is to not have to rear them in the lab, but to be able to collect them at the sites. And this site here is supposed to be what we call a field insectary, where we in years from now, we can come back here and collect insects from this location and redistribute them to other locations.

So far, the predator beetles seem to be keeping the wooly adelgid in check; it's hoped the hemlock forests will recover in time. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.