COLUMBUS — The Ohio Department of Agriculture and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources recently announced the discovery of a hemlock-killing pest in Adams County.
The hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA) is a small, aphid-like insect native to Asia, which threatens the health and sustainability of two hemlock tree species native to the eastern United States.
HWA was first reported in the eastern U.S. in 1951, near Richmond, Virginia.
Today, it is established in portions of 20 states from Maine to Georgia, and Nova Scotia, Canada, where infestations cover about half of the native range of eastern hemlock. Areas along the Appalachian Mountains have experienced significant mortality of eastern hemlock due to this devastating insect.
The infestation in Adams County was discovered through the survey work being conducted by the ODNR Division of Forestry in Shawnee State Forest.
HWA is primarily transported by wind, birds and infested nursery stock. HWA was first detected in a forested setting in Ohio in Meigs County in 2012. At this time, ODA will move to expand its hemlock quarantine, enforced by ODA’s Plant Health division, to include Adams County.
Ohio quarantine regulations restrict the movement of hemlock materials from areas known to be infested with HWA into non-infested Ohio counties. Ohio’s quarantine law also requires hemlock materials to be inspected and officially certified before being shipped, verifying that the plant material is free of HWA when entering Ohio.
For more information about the HWA in Ohio, visit agri.ohio.gov/divs/plant/hwa/hwa.aspx.