Smokies officials to release new beetles to battle invasive pest

Smokies officials to release new beetles to battle invasive pest

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A beetle larva eating the eggs of the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid. A beetle larva eating the eggs of the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid.
The adult beetle. The adult beetle.

GATLINBURG (WATE) - Officials in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are taking new steps to combat the spread of a pest attacking the hemlocks of the park.

Two new species of beetles that prey on the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA) will be released throughout the park in the hopes of stemming the destruction of the invasive pest.

The HWA has devastated hemlock forests throughout the southeastern United States.

Park managers hope that over the long term, the new species of beetles, in addition to existing beetle populations that have been released in the park since 2002, will reach a "natural balance" with the HWA.

In addition to the beetles, park officials also use horticultural oils and pesticides injected into stems and soil to combat the invasive species.

More information about the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid is available on the park's special HWA page.

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