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Kentucky's Hemlock Population Threatened By Insect

Kentucky's hemlock population is under threat from a tiny insect native to Asia, the adelgid.

Kentucky's hemlock population is under threat due to a tiny insect called hemlock wooly adelgids that only attack hemlock trees.

The hemlocks are not valued for their wood, but their evergreen needles shade headwater stream and keep them cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

To help fight the adelgids, the state is asking people to be on the lookout for white, wooly tufts on the trees - a sign that the insects have arrived.

Adelgids are oval, reddish-purple insects measuring only one-thirty-second of an inch in length. The bugs are native to China and Japan, but inflict little damage there. However, in America, females do the damage by piercing the base of hemlock needles and drawing out sap. The insects lay eggs twice a year and in the winter, cover themselves and their eggs in a waxy material that resembles wool.

An infected tree usually dies within 5-10 years. Using insecticidal soap or injecting chemicals into the ground near the base are the best options for saving the hemlocks from the adelgids. Source: Lexington Herald Leader

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May 26, 2019, 3:10 pm PDT

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