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Small Insect Causing Big Problems For Hemlock Trees

By Meghan Packer, Reporter, MPacker@wfmz.com
Published On: Jan 29 2014 05:07:01 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 29 2014 06:45:07 PM CST

Pennsylvania's state tree is in trouble.

POTTSVILLE, Pa. -

Pennsylvania's state tree is in trouble. A small insect is causing big problems for hemlock trees.

"What we're talking about is hemlock woolly adelgid, it's an aphid," explained Susan Hyland with the Penn State Extension in Schuylkill County. "They have piercing, sucking mouth parts, they go into each little cell, they suck the fluid out which is the nourishment, the nutrients that go to the needle in the case of a hemlock and they just keep going until they've sucked it all out. "

Without treatment, it can kill a tree.

"It's sucking the life out of them," said Hyland, who added it's not just happening in Pennsylvania, but to hemlocks along the east coast.

"Until there is some way that we can control this insect, it is going to land on hemlock trees every year," she said.

A indication that a tree has the woolly adelgid is a white fluffy coating on both sides of branches, which is a protective coating for the insects. Hyland recommends not letting hemlocks dry out because healthier trees are more resistant.

"Go out and look on your property and see if you see this, treat those that you choose, remove those that are dead, dying and get them out of the way, burn the bad plant tissue," said Hyland.

There are sprays and oil you can use to treat the problem.

Hyland said, "Horticulture oil on the top and bottom of every branch is a definite killer for them that'll take them down.

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