Army of Worms Destroys Army of Beetles, New York Approves

In New York state, far from the bright lights of the city, alfalfa snout beetles in numbers so large their preadators can’t possibly consume them all emerge from the ground annually and set to work destroying the state’s cropland– 14% of it since 1933.

1338390641740906315.jpgPhoto by c-po on Flickr

After 20 years of trying, however, Cornell University scientists have discovered two nematodes, microscopic worms, that will eat the beetles and clear the cropland of this invasive species. Not reported in North America until appearing in Oswego, New York in 1896, probably from a ship’s ballast, farmers realized what the beetles were doing to their crops in 1933, and have been trying and failing to hold them at bay ever since. Fortunately, for whatever reason, the beetle has chosen not to spead beyond an area in Upstate New York and the Canadian province of Ontario, limiting its effect.

Info From Yahoo