Beetles swarm SE Portland neighborhood - KPTV - FOX 12

Beetles swarm SE Portland neighborhood

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Thousands of small beetles have invaded yards in the Sellwood neighborhood, chewing up rose bushes and vegetables.

Residents first noticed the beetles Friday night and their numbers have grown over the weekend.

“[They’re] covering our windows, covering our back doors our front doors,” said Kris Heiberg. “So it’s a matter of a mad dash so they don’t come inside but they do come inside.”

Teresa Darling said the beetles have chewed through her rose bushes, leaving the leaves and flowers crumbling like “potato chips.”

“I feel kind of scared and weird. And sad,” she said. “I spend a lot of time trying to get my plants looking beautiful and they’re awful.”

Oregon Department of Agriculture staff visited the neighborhood Monday afternoon to take beetles to the lab for testing to identify them.

The beetles may be a species used as a bio control agent to eliminate an invasive weed in the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge called purple loosestrife, said Tim Butler, the manager of the ODA’s Noxious Weed Control Program.

They may also be a similar species of beetle that is native to the area, Butler said.

Butler said the beetle used as a bio control agent has been used in Oregon since 1992 and had to pass rigorous federal testing to make sure they feed only on their targets, not on other plants.

If this particular type of beetle is feeding on plants other than purple loosestrife, it would be a very rare occurrence, he added.

Butler said the hotter than normal summer temperatures may also be playing a role.

“I guess I would just hope to say I hope this doesn’t happen next year,” said Heiberg. “I don’t want to live through this again.”

Staff members from the City of Portland and the USDA also visited Sellwood Monday afternoon to look into the issue.

Officials expect the beetle infestation to end within days.

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  • Beetles invading Sellwood yards were released by state to fight invasive weed

    Beetles invading Sellwood yards were released by state to fight invasive weed

    Wednesday, August 12 2015 10:45 AM EDT2015-08-12 14:45:45 GMT
    A species of beetle released in the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge to fight an invasive weed has moved into a southeast Portland neighborhood in search of a new food source, the Oregon Department of Agriculture confirmed Tuesday.Thousands of small beetles started showing up in the Sellwood neighborhood Friday night, flying through the air chewing up rose bushes and crape myrtle.“As you ride through them they get in your ears, your arms,” said Larry Watland, who was riding his ...More >
    A species of beetle released in the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge to fight an invasive weed has moved into a southeast Portland neighborhood in search of a new food source, the Oregon Department of Agriculture confirmed Tuesday.Thousands of small beetles started showing up in the Sellwood neighborhood Friday night, flying through the air chewing up rose bushes and crape myrtle.“As you ride through them they get in your ears, your arms,” said Larry Watland, who was riding his ...More >
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