General overview of the release on the Needham side of the Reservation. Forester Burnham in green and Site Supervisor Kevin Hollenbeck at the extreme left are releasing the insects. The WBZ cameraman is in the center.

2001 Ladybug Release

May 2, 2001

The long struggle to save the trees in Hemlock Gorge reached a turning point at 2:30 on Wednesday, May 2, 2001. At that time Massachusetts state forester Charlie Burnham and site supervisor Kevin Hollenbeck released the first of 10,000 ladybugs grown during the winter to combat the Woolly Adelgid. The insects, black, tiny, but seemingly full of energy, were grown for us in New Jersey. They were gently released with the aid of artists’ brushes into the lower branches of a large adelgid-infested tree on the Needham side of the reservation, opposite the Devil’s Den. The event was covered by WBZ-TV, whose report and interview with Site Supervisor Kevin Hollenbeck was broadcast on the Channel 4 evening news. The broadcast has been taped and we hope to replay it at a future meeting. More ladybugs will be released in the reservation in the near future.

Forester Charlie Burnham applying the insects to an infested hemlock tree with an artist’s brush.
Friends’ President Alderman Brian Yates congratulates Charlie Burnham on this long anticipated occasion.

Mr. Burnham reported that there have been excellent results using these ladybugs, formally called Pseudocamnys tsugae, in more southerly states, and he is cautiously optimistic about the outcome for Hemlock Gorge. He will be returning to the reservation later this spring to quantify the level of adelgid infestation on several tree branches. Comparison of this level with the level of infestation on these same branches a year from now will give us a good idea as to how well our project is succeeding.

This release will be the culmination of years of environmental and legislative struggle to try to save the trees in Hemlock Gorge. The Friends worked extraordinarily hard and well with Sen. Creem, Rep. Khan, the DCR, and many others to bring this about. Friends’ President Brian Yates, who was present at the release, extends his thanks to all who helped in this effort.

June, 2001

A second lot of ladybugs was released into Hemlock Gorge Reservation in mid-June, completing the planned release of 10,000 adelgid predators funded by the state legislature last year. We will keep everyone apprised of the state of the trees. Forester Charles Burnham expects to have an assessment of the effect of the ladybug release by Spring 2002.