That's Laricobius beetles for the uninitiated. And yes, this is a Fraser fir blog, but every once in awhile I like to put something in about other conifer pests like hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA).
One of the predators being released for HWA is Laricobius nigrinus. Last week I went out with Jim Hamilton, Watauga County Director, and Bill Sweeney with the Bent Creek Experiment Station, to learn how to trap for these beetles.
Unfortunately, we didn't find any Laricobius last Wednesday when we looked in Valle Crucis. I don't know if Bill found any at his other locations.
These beetles were released at Hemlock Hill behind Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk. Jerry Moody, the County Extension Director in Avery County, and I looked at these hemlocks on Friday. It had been a long time since I had been there.
HWA is having a sad impact on our forest hemlocks. Each time we have droughty conditions, it seems like more hemlocks die.
On a brighter note, Jerry and I visited a site where we had treated hemlocks with a trunk spray of either Safari or Merit + Pentrabark. The Safari treated trees at the low rate of 12 oz/gallon had only dead adelgids. We only took a quick sample of Friday, but the results were very encouraging. We'll make additional observations this spring.