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Md. highway agency using insects to battle invasive species

June 29, 2012

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — (AP) — Maryland is using insects to fight invasive species.

The State Highway Administration said Friday that it is using a weevil and a beetle that feed only on invasive species harming native plants in wetlands and along roadways.

The weevil feeds on the mile-a-minute vine, an Asian import that grows on shrubs, trees and other plants, blocking out sunlight and killing them.

The beetle feeds on purple loosestrife, which can form thick stands, crowding out native plants and altering wetlands water flow.

SHA officials said it recently released the insects at 11 wetlands sites on the lower Eastern Shore, central Maryland, and suburban Washington.

Goats and sheep are also being used to manage vegetation at a Hampstead site that is home to the threatened bog turtle.

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