Beetles released to eat tamarisk in western Colorado
GRAND JUNCTION, Colorado – Beetles that eat trees are the good guys in the fight to save water and native plants in western Colorado.
With the help of volunteers, Mesa County has released 2,500 beetles on an island in the Colorado River in Grand Junction. Their job is to eat the leaves of the tamarisk, a nonnative tree that can consume 200 gallons of water a day.
Bark beetles have devastated parts of the Colorado high country by eating and killing lodgepole pine trees. But Chinese beetles are prized because they help keep the growth of the tamarisk, native to Asia, in check.
The beetles eat tamarisk leaves, allowing more light to get to native plants below.
They’ve also been used to control tamarisk near Pueblo and in Utah.