Saturday, March 25, 2006
A Fuzzy Disaster
Originally uploaded by urtica.
Hemlocks (Tsuga canadensis, to be exact) have been forever ruined for me. I cannot look at one and appreciate the beauty of such a tree - I have to stand under it, or flip branches over, scouring it for signs of hemlock woolly adelgid (Adelges tsugae) infestation.
The woolly adelgid is an insect in the hopper family (Homoptera). Introduced from Asia, it has been known in the Northeastern U.S. since the 1920s. Here is a map of the known range of the insect from 2005. It's still got over 50% of the native range of hemlock to go. Though there are chemical and even biological controls available to manage woolly adelgid infestations, neither are in widespread use. A tree may die just a few years after it is attacked, or it may linger on for many years in an unhealthy state.
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