COLUMBUS — The Ohio Department of Agriculture and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources verified the discovery of a hemlock-killing pest in Lawrence, Monroe and Vinton counties in southeast Ohio.
Hemlock Woolly Adelgid is a small, aphid-like insect native to Asia that threatens eastern hemlock and Carolina hemlock in the eastern United States.
HWA was first reported in the eastern United States in 1951 near Richmond, Va. By 2005, it was established in portions of 16 states from Maine to Georgia, where infestations covered about half of the range of hemlock.
The infestations were recently detected by ODA and ODNR officials in Dean State Forest in Lawrence County, Zaleski State Forest in Vinton County, and in a landscape setting in Monroe County.
Officials have been conducting surveys in the newly detected areas to determine the scope of the infestations.
The insect is primarily transmitted by wind and birds. Officials believe the new findings in Ohio are the result of natural spread from nearby areas where the pest is established.
There are now six counties in Ohio where hemlock woolly adelgid has been detected in a naturally occurring stand of hemlock.
In 2012, infestations were found in Meigs and Washington counties, and an infestation was detected in Hocking County in 2013.
At this time, ODA will move to expand its hemlock quarantine, enforced by ODA’s Plant Health division, to include Lawrence, Monroe and Vinton counties.
Ohio quarantine regulations restrict the movement of hemlock materials from counties known to be infested into non-infested Ohio counties.
Ohio’s quarantine law also requires hemlock materials grown in non-infested counties in quarantined states to be inspected before being shipped and have a phytosanitary certificate verifying that the plant material is free of hemlock woolly adelgid when entering Ohio.