Adelgid Update: December, 2000

On November 9, 2000, the Metropolitan District Commission voted to approve an interagency Service Agreement with the Department of Environmental Management to grow the ladybugs that are the natural predators of the hemlock woolly adelgids that are killing the reservation. Dr. Charles Burnham of DEM has made arrangements to grow up a stock of ladybugs in a laboratory on the Cape. In late spring or early summer of 2001, about 10,000 ladybugs should be released in the Gorge to begin to bring the woolly adelgids under control. This exciting development is the result of the leadership of local legislators including Senator Cynthia Creem, who brought Senate President Thomas Birmingham to visit the Gorge in 1999, and Representative Kay Khan, who organized the veto override in the House that approved the $60,000 needed for this program. We also appreciate the cooperation of MDC Commissioner David Balfour and his associate Bernadette O’Malley in approving this item and making the agreement with DEM.

We also hope soon to receive a videotape of hearings held by State Senator Stephen Brewer last fall in Gardner, MA at which the state forestry service presented data that the adelgid may indeed be safely controlled by the ladybugs we plan to introduce in the Gorge.