If you spend any time outside these days, chances are you might be encountering some tiny black bugs. Lots of people mistake them for ticks, but they are actually Yellow Poplar Weevils. Agriculture officials say they're damaging poplar trees across West Virginia.
The Department of Agriculture said this week that most healthy trees will survive the onslaught by yellow poplar weevils. But trees stressed for one reason or another can be seriously damaged.
State forester Randy Dye says the Division of Forestry is working the Department of Agriculture to monitor the situation.
Yellow poplar weevils are native to the state. They love yellow poplars, sassafras, and magnolia trees. WVU Extension Services says usually predatory and parasitic insects keep the weevils under control but that there aren't enough natural enemies present to provide sufficient control during certain outbreaks such as this year’s. The weevils are supposed to begin hibernating in mid-July and won't reappear until next spring.