The Threat of the Woolly Adelgid

The hemlock woolly adelgid (Adelges tsugae Annand), is a small aphid-like insect that feeds on several species of hemlock (Tsuga). It was introduced to North America from Asia, and has been recognized in the United States since at least 1924. By sucking sap from the young twigs, the insect slows or prevents tree growth, causing needles to discolor from deep green to grayish green and to drop prematurely. The loss of new shoots and needles seriously impairs tree health. Defoliation and tree death can occur within several years. It is a serious threat to the hemlocks not only of Hemlock Gorge, but all of New England.

It has advanced into Southern Massachusetts, and it has appeared in the Gorge and in nearby forest. The threat it poses is serious, and the Friends of Hemlock Gorge are working with the MDC to develop a strategy. The approval of $60,000 by the legislature (July 31, 2000) to grow and release ladybugs holds out the promise that meaningful control may be achieved in time to save some of the hemlocks in the reservation.

Further Information:

Finally, we have a news story on the adelgid published by the State House News Service in September, 2000 and reprinted here with the permission of the author.

A solution may be at hand for the woolly adelgid, but the battle is far from won. If you share our concern with the Woolly Adelgid, please consider participating in, and contributing to, the activities of the Friends of Hemlock Gorge.

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