Beetle Mania

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Everywhere you look, there are news reports about mosquitoes, ticks and other widespread bugs of summer, but in select regions of the U.S., there are beetles, both good and bad, stealing the spotlight.

Residents in the Southwest are cheering at the arrival of the saltcedar leaf beetle in El Paso, Texas. According to the Southwest Farm Press, the beetles were released in western Texas to combat the spread of the invasive saltcedar plant. A representative from the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service stated that the beetles are not harmful to humans and only have an interest in eating saltcedar leaves.

Another invasive species, the emerald ash borer, is continuing to spread throughout the country. These pests can decimate an entire state’s ash tree population and are difficult to control. Efforts to stop their movement from state to state include wood quarantines and the release of a Chinese wasp known to kill emerald ash borer larvae.