- One county department is trying to get the community more involved in protecting the environment...with beetles.
Oneida County needs to deal with an invasive species called Purple Loostrife.
Originally a garden plant, the species has now spread to natural environments, forcing out native plants.
The Oneida County Land and Water Conservation Department has come up with a plan of attack... beetles and students.
Oneida County AIS coordinator Michele Sadauskas says, "Beetle damage by an adult beetle is like holes in the leaves and they'll munch on those and use them as a food source. When they lay eggs and the eggs hatch, they have a larval form and those larvae do significant damage to the Purple Loostrife."
The process of collecting beetles and introducing them into the environment was a challenge so Sadauskas and her team decided they needed some help.
"We thought the neatest thing would be to involve students in the Rhinelander district or in Oneida County just as a whole," says Sadauskas.
The students dug up some of the plants and collected beetles at one of the Rhinelander sites.
They brought back both to their school to have the plants grow and beetles multiply.
This summer, they released some of the plants with beetles on them into the area. The beetles then spread to other plants. There they will eat and kill the invasive species.
It will be a long process so the department wants to get the community involved.
If you discover a new area with Purple Loostrife and report it to the department, you'll get a free canvas tote bag.
To report an area with Purple Loostrife, call (715) 365-2750. You can also click on the link below to visit the team's blog.
Oneida County AIS
|Story By: Lauren Stephenson