Beetles loosed to devour invasive insects in Maine

Posted May 05, 2011, at 11:13 a.m.

SOUTH BERWICK, Maine — The Maine Forest Service says it will release more than 1,000 predator lady beetles at a state park so they can feast on insects that kill hemlock trees.

The tiny hungry beetles will be released Thursday at Vaughan Woods State Park in South Berwick in an effort to eradicate the hemlock woolly adelgid, an invasive insect that’s moving up the coast of Maine and has been found in at least 16 states.

Release of the 1,500 black lady beetles isn’t expected to eradicate the infestation. But officials say it should reduce the adelgid population at the park.

The biological-control effort is called the state’s best management tool in the forest at this time.

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