Invasive species making a home in Adirondacks, Lake George areas

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LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. (WFFF/WVNY) – A new invasive species is making itself at home in part of the Adirondacks near Lake George, and it’s raising concerns.

“Hemlock Wooly Adelgid is a small invasive forest pest that feeds on Hemlock Trees,” said Jim Esden, Forester, Department of Forest Parks and Recreation.

Hemlock Wooly Adelgid also known as HWA.

The starch from Hemlock trees provides the pest with a food source.

The HWA has an Asian origin and first arrived in the United States in the 1950s.

“When an heiress from Richmond, VA imported some Hemlock seedlings from Japan in order to be a part of creating an arboretum that the public could use,” Esden said.

Fast forward to today and the pest has spread to southern Vermont and New York’s Adirondack region near Lake George.

“The new discovery is 40-50 miles from the previous known boundaries of New York’s infestation,” Esden said.

The insect is spread by the wind, birds, and humans.

“The insect has been gradually spreading north and south, following the native range of the Hemlock Trees,” Esden said.

Causing severe damage to the canopy of these trees, which could lead to eco-logical problems.

“Hemlocks are also found in riparian zones, along rivers and streams. Where they keep the water cool and hold the soil to keep it clean. Which is really critical for our aquatic life,” Esden said.

Next time you go camping you may not have that shady spot you are used to having. But officials are working on a remedy for the issue.

“Beetles, they’re very tiny, but they’re predators. We actually have released those in three different sites here in Vermont,” Esden said.

As for the results, Esden said it’s a complicated process.

“It will take a while for the very small number of beetles that we released to build up into a population large enough to really have an impact,” Esden said.

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