Tiny insect causing problems for MI trees - WNEM TV 5

Tiny insect causing problems for MI trees

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Hemlock woolly adelgid (Source: DNR) Hemlock woolly adelgid (Source: DNR)

Officials are asking for you to look-out for another threat to Michigan trees.

The hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA) is a threat to eastern hemlock trees across the state, and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is asking residents to check for the insect.

They secrete a white wax as they feed on sap, and can kill needles, shoots, and branches. Over time, that slows the tree’s growth.

Eventually, infected trees may take on a grayish-green hue and when combined with other stress factors, such as drought, often kills trees.

"We’re asking for assistance from the public in detecting occurrences of hemlock woolly adelgid in Michigan,” said Roger Mech, DNR forest health specialist. “While people are out enjoying our natural resources, we hope they’ll take a moment to check their trees.”

Early detection and elimination of HWA is critical to slowing the spread of the insect.

Young adelgid can be carried by birds and moved on people’s clothes, nursery trees, logs or firewood. But insecticide treatments can protect hemlock trees.

More than 12 percent, or 2.3 million acres, of Michigan’s forests, contain eastern hemlock.

If you find a possible HWA infestation, take photos, note the location of the affected trees and contact MDARD at 800-292-3939 or MDA-info@michigan.gov. To prevent spread, do not move the potentially infested material.

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