There certainly seems like a particular insect has come into it's own this summer, as folks have made mention of them invading the backyard deck, camps, and crawling all over on people's arms.

"What are they?"  "We don't remember seeing these before", they say.

Here's what they are.  Essentially we traded on insect for another, and it's taken a few years to do so.

Back in the '50s an insect called the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid somehow made it's way from Japan to Connecticut, and these hungry Hemlock Woolly Adelgid, which most Mainers by 2014 called the woolly aphid, enjoyed munching on our softwood trees.  One would see the white wool of these bugs congregating up in the trees, nesting, and having the time of their lives, as other than humans spraying a can or Raid or some other pesticide, it had no natural predators here in the Pine Tree State.  The woolly aphid is pictured below.

Maine.gov

After watching hemlock trees loose their needles, deteriorate and die, foresters in Connecticut back in 1995 said enough is enough, and released the black beetles that you now see all over the place.

Very hungry and small lady black lady beetles called Sasajiscymnus tsugae, also from Japan, were also set loose in the southern part of the Maine beginning in 2014, and by now have multiplied and made their way to central and eastern parts of the state.  So much so that people have to be reminded as to what they are all about.

Maine.gov

There are out there eating aphids, because that's what they were hired to do.

So now when you're out and about around our great state you can take comfort that these small black beetles are doing their part to keep it both green and beautiful, and also that you can take comfort that they will not bite your tender bottom, as they are harmless.

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