ALBANY (AP) — Researchers have released parasitic wasps at several sites in New York to test them as a natural control against a devastating beetle that has led many gardeners to give up on growing lilies.
The wasps kill lily leaf beetles by laying eggs in the beetle larvae. Researchers at the University of Rhode Island began evaluating the wasps in 1999 to make sure they were safe for other insects, and had them approved for release by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Cornell University researchers have released the wasps at Cornell Cooperative Extension sites in Putnam and Albany counties, and plan to release them in Erie County.
A Cornell survey found lily leaf beetles were present in 30 New York counties, causing so much damage that many gardeners had quit growing the flowers.
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