AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Forest Service is releasing more predator beetles in southern Maine to fight hemlock woolly adelgids, an aphid-like insect which kill eastern hemlock trees.
Officials said Tuesday that about 9,000 laboratory-reared beetles are being released this week and next week in Saco and York in areas where they haven’t previously been released.
There are about 160,000 acres of hemlock-dominated forest in southern-coastal Maine. Adelgids, which suck the sap from hemlock wigs, arrived in Maine starting in 1999, according to the Forest Service, when they were inadvertently shipped here from Connecticut on untreated nursery stock.
The Forest Service began releasing the beetles in 2004, and nearly 27,000 have been released to date. The beetles feast on hemlock woolly adelgid adults and their eggs.