Release HWA Bio-control Beetles (Laricobius osakensis) at four eastern hemlock sites in Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah National Park » Release HWA Bio-control Beetles (Laricobius osakensis) at four eastern hemlock sites in Shenandoah National Park » Document List

Shenandoah National Park is planning to release predatory beetles to control a non-native tree pest - the hemlock wooly adelgid (HWA). Since the 1990's HWA has killed an estimated 95% of the hemlock trees in the park. The remaining trees in the park exist primarily of park actions - using a systemic insecticide to treat the individual trees. We intend to move toward biological controls (via an introduced predator) in order to reduce the labor-intensive use of insecticides.

National-level environmental analyses, in addition to similar analysis at nearby National Parks with HWA, have concluded that this release is approved for use and is a predator specific to HWA (no non-target insects should be harmed). These predators have been released in Eastern U.S. for years now. The park is seeking public feedback on initial release within Shenandoah. Interested parties can provide input on this website for the next 15 days. After feedback has been reviewed - a press release will follow with the final plan.

BACKGROUND ENVIRONMENTAL COMPLIANCE: The USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has approved the beetle for field release in a Decision Notice/Finding of No Significant Impact dated June 22, 2010 (attached). The beetle is native to Japan, and is considered to be host specific to the HWA (Vieira et. al., 2011 and USDA APHIS DN/FONSI, 2010). Monitoring and evaluation efforts will be carried out for 2 to 3 years post-release for the purposes of documenting the establishment and dispersal of the beetle and evaluating its effectiveness in reducing HWA population densities and protecting hemlock health on a stand level basis.

Recent L. osakensis Releases on Federal and State Land in Virginia and Tennessee:

L. osakensis releases occurred on the George Washington National Forest (GWNF) in 2013 (1000 adults and 1000 eggs released near Goshen, VA). The GWNF went through the NEPA process and issued a categorical exclusion based on a Category 3 Finding: "Inventories, research activities, and studies such as resource inventories and routine data collection when such actions are clearly limited in context and intensity."

Three trial L. osakensis releases took place in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GRSM) in 2013 (720 L. osakensis eggs). These biocontrol release activities were covered under their existing Environmental Assessment (Environmental Assessment of Hemlock Woolly Aldegid Control Strategies at GRSM).

L. osakensis releases (1000 adults and 1000 eggs) occurred on the Clinch Mountain Wildlife Management Area (VA Department of Game and Inland Fisheries) in 2013, near Saltville, VA

Literature Cited:

Mausel DL, Salom SM, Kok LT & Davis GA (2010). Establishment of the hemlock
woolly adelgid predator Laricobius nigrinus (Coleoptera: Derodontidae), in
the eastern United States. Environmental Entomology. 39: 440-448.

Salom SM and Mooneyham C (2014). Laricobius osakensis (Coleoptera: Derodontidae), Fact Sheet. Virginia Tech University. 2 pp. January 2014.

Vieira LC, McAvoy TJ, Chantos J, Lamb AB, Salom SM & Kok LT (2011). Host range of
Laricobius osakensis (Coleoptera: Derodontidae), a new biological control agent of hemlock woolly adelgid (Hemiptera: Adelgidae). Environmental Entomology 40: 324-332.

United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection service.
Decision and Finding of No Significant Impact for Field Release of Laricobius osakensis Montgomery and Shiyake (Coleoptera: Derodontidae), a predatory beetle for Biological Control of Hemlock Wooly Adelgid, Adelges tsugae (Hemiptera: Adelgidae), in the Continental United States. June, 2010.

Contact Information

Rolf Gubler, 540-999-3500 x3291