DEC: Hemlock Woolly Adelgid more widespread as treatment continues

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WASHINGTON COUNTY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The New York State DEC has been working with partners in the Adirondack Park to handle the spread of the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid invasive since its appearance in the town of Dresden last August at Glen Island Campground.

Treatment of Adirondack hemlock trees began last October, and a predatory insect was unleashed to feed on the invasive. Over the weekend, the DEC said that their work through the park led to the discovery of more invasives than just those at the campground.

The DEC said surveyers through the Adirondacks have now found Hemlock Woolly Adelgid at Shelving Rock, Buck Mountain trailhead, Dome Island, Moreau Lake State Park, and private property around the shores of Lake George in Queensbury. Adelgid egg sacs and crawlers can hitch a ride to traveling animals, and the DEC says that moving nursery stock are a common means of spread.

As the infestation has spread, the DEC said they are now planning further treatments to trees, spread out annually. The Hemlock Woolly Adelgid feeds on hemlock twigs, causing branches and eventually trees to die off. Last fall, 2,374 trees were treated with insecticide across 138 acres, with another 80 injected directly in high-risk areas.

“Treatment dates and strategies are being determined and will help limit the spread of HWA and protect accessible priority hemlock resources that provide habitat and water quality protections, opportunities for recreation, and aesthetic benefits,” the DEC wrote in a release.

Hemlock trees make up around 80 percent of all trees around Lake George, and around 4 percent of the Adirondack Park.

The DEC is also continuing outreach to raise awareness of the invasive and push for early detection. The public is being asked to keep an eye out for infestation signs including white woolly masses on branch undersides; gray-tinted foliage, and needle loss.

The public is asked to take measures such as taking pictures of apparent infestation; noting location, including GPS coordinates if possible; contact the DEC or the Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISM); report the infestation to iMapInvasives, an interactive online invasive resource; and cleaning any equipment brought to the woods that may have come in contact with the invasive.

On Glen Island, where the infestation was first found, treatments will resume in the spring once winter snow has melted and the ground has thawed. Treatment dates are being planned to limit further spread, which will in turn help the 620 Lacrobius beetles let loose to prey on the invasives do their job.

Meanwhile, the DEC is working with the FUND for Lake George, the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program and the CUNY Advanced Science Research Center to use satellite imaging to track invasive spread.

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