- Associated Press - Friday, December 18, 2015

WINCHESTER, Ky. (AP) - Officials say predatory beetles have been released into the Daniel Boone National Forest in an effort to save its hemlock trees.

A statement from the U.S. Forest Service and the Kentucky Division of Forestry says the beetles were released Tuesday on forest land in Laurel County. The beetles are natural predators for the hemlock woolly adelgid (ah-DEL’-jid), an invasive insect that has devastated hemlock forests throughout the eastern U.S.

Kentucky Division of Forestry Director Leah MacSwords says the beetles eat only adelgids and will help control “one of the biggest insect threats to Kentucky’s forests.” The state has more than 83 million eastern hemlock trees.

The statement says officials think the number of beetles will decrease as its food source diminishes.

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