Insect Threatens Native Hemlock Trees

By: Michael Phillips Email
By: Michael Phillips Email

It's called the Wooly Hemlock Adelgid and some are saying it's a danger to Eastern Kentucky forest lands. That's why some state officials are asking for help in finding this hidden parasite.

Kyle Napier says it's the biggest threat to the health of Kentucky forests since the near eradication of the American Chestnut Tree in the 1930's.

"We have a very light infestation, better chance of actually finding it," Napier says.

He says it's only a matter of time before all hemlocks are infested.

The Adelgid is a microscopic insect, barely visible to the human eye. But these volunteers are looking for early signs of infestation.

"So something can be done in the very near future and we can do some kind of treatment," said searcher Jim McCord.

The victim, the Eastern Hemlock Tree, chief populator of Eastern Kentucky forests.

So the search continues marking already infested trees and making others aware of what might be lost.

"We're making an effort to try and track it so something can be done in Eastern Kentucky," Napier said.

In the meantime, Napier says make sure to take some time to enjoy Eastern Kentucky woodlands.

Napier says the insect causing so many problems is originally from Asia and wasn't brought to North America until the 1920's.

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