The Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA) is a tiny, piercing and sucking insect, unseen with the naked eye, that feeds on hemlock twigs at the bases of the needles. HWA is an invasive species from Asia which has infested the US East Coast hemlock forest from New Hampshire to Georgia, inhibiting twig growth throughout. It has also recently been found in Michigan and it is believed to be expanding its range due to changes in climate.
HWA has a complex life cycle; its winter generation and spring generation overlap in the spring. It feeds and reproduces during the colder months, going dormant in the summer.
The earliest visible sign of HWA is the presence of white, cottony masses, usually located on the twigs and at the bases of the needles. Populations tend to be denser in the lower limbs, but can be anywhere on the tree. Symptoms will progress to fading, thinning and dying limbs, which die off beginning at the base of the tree and moving upwards. Left untreated, the death of the tree is certain.
Info Source: Arborjet
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