The National Park Service reports success in its efforts to protect hemlocks by establishing long-term biological control of HWA in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. And they attribute this success to releases of the Sasajiscymnus tsugae (Sasi/St) beetle from Japan:
“Researchers at UT found one of the original predator beetle species — Sasajiscymnus tsugae — at eight of the 10 release sites in the Smokies and Cherokee National Forest. Some had spread 1.2 miles from the initial release site. Where the beetles were found, the hemlocks were alive.”
National Park Service Forester Jesse Webster observes that these biological control successes offer hope for the long-term survival of and recovery of our eastern hemlock ecosystems:
“This won’t be the hemlock equivalent of the chestnut blight,” Webster said. “The park’s hemlock forests will never be the same, but we won’t have the ecological extinction everyone was worried about. We have thousands of acres of multiple forest types in the park with protected hemlocks that are the genetic bank for the future.”
For the full article, go to GSMNP News Note that the 1st half of this article concerns the introduction of new predator beetle species that are not available to private landowners, while the 2nd half concerns the success of the Sasi/St beetle, which is available to all.