LAKE GEORGE — A minor infestation of an invasive pest was discovered recently on a tree located in the Forest Preserve lands, according to the Department of Environmental Conservation.
According to a news release, the hemlock woolly adelgid, a tiny insect from East Asia, was found July 18 on an Eastern hemlock tree in Lake George. A small cluster in its early stage was detected on one branch by a senior ecologist from the Harvard Research Forest.
This is the first recorded infestation in the Adirondacks. The adelgid is also found in 29 other counties across New York, mainly in the Hudson Valley and recently in the Finger Lakes region, the DEC stated.
“To track and prevent the spread of this invasive pest, hemlock woolly adelgid, DEC has surveyed 250 acres of forest in the Adirondacks,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “Preventing the spread of invasive species is the most effective way to fight and address the damage these species can cause to our natural resources.”
The pest was first discovered in New York in 1985. It attacks hemlock trees. It feeds on young twigs, causing needles to dry out and drop, causing branch dieback. Hemlock decline and mortality typically occurs within 4 to 10 years of infestation.
The DEC plans to fight the invasive using insecticides.
According to the DEC, the insecticide is applied to the bark near the base of the hemlock tree and is absorbed and spread through the tissue of the tree. When the insect attaches itself to the tree to feed, it receives a dose of the pesticide and is killed.
At least 10 percent of the Adirondack Park is made up of Eastern hemlock trees, and some of them are among the oldest trees in the state, reaching ages of more than 700 years.