Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Progress made on hemlock woolly adelgid infestation

Yesterday, in their Know Before You Go publication, Friends of the Smokies posted an update regarding the fight against the hemlock woolly adelgid infestation in the Great Smoky Mountains.

The hemlock woolly adelgid is a non-native insect, originating out of Asia, that kills hemlocks by depriving them of nutrients. The insect was first detected on the eastern seaboard in the 1950s before spreading to the Blue Ridge Mountains and then up through the northern Appalachians to Maine. In Shenandoah National Park alone, up to 90% of all hemlocks have already died due to the infestation. Adelgids were originally discovered in the Smokies in 2002.

Here are a couple of topline factoids from the Friends report:

* hemlock crews have hand-treated more than 140,000 trees

* since 2002, the insect lab has provided more than 500,000 predator beetles to release in the park.

* treatments originally expected to last only 2-3 years are showing positive results for as long as 5-10 years, resulting in lower costs

* some small (10-30 acre), higher-elevation hemlock stands are surviving untreated due to colder winter temperature fluctuations and rime ice

To read the entire report, and the entire newsletter, please click here.


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