The state DEC on Tuesday confirmed an infestation of an invasive insect from Asia on Forest Preserve lands in the narrows of Lake George.
The hemlock woolly adelgid was found near a campsite within Glen Island Campground on the shore of Lake George. The Department of Environmental Conservation was notified through iMap Invasives about a suspicious tree and a forest health specialist was dispatched to survey the area.
This initial survey found one heavily infested and two lightly infested Eastern hemlock trees close to the campsite. Additional follow-up surveys will be conducted to better determine the size and spread of this infestation, according to a DEC news release.
“This latest detection of hemlock woolly adelgid is an important reminder for all New Yorkers to report and remain on the lookout for invasive species in communities around the state,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “Early detection remains a key tool in monitoring and addressing invasive species of all kinds, so continue to stay vigilant and informed to help protect our natural resources and economy.”
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This is the second known infestation in the Adirondacks and was previously found on Prospect Mountain in Lake George in 2017. The 2017 infestation was eradicated by insecticide, according to the DEC.
Insecticide is the most effective treatment method for control of hemlock woolly adelgid. 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 hemlock woolly adelgid attaches itself to the tree to feed, it receives a dose of the pesticide and is killed.
Additionally, hemlock woolly adelgid has been detected in 46 other counties in New York, primarily in the lower Hudson Valley and the Finger Lakes region.
As climate change contributes to more mild winters, experts anticipate more rapid movement and increasing hemlock woolly adelgid populations. Last winter in New York was extremely mild and there is a boom in hemlock woolly adelgid populations statewide as the existing population expands.
Hemlock woolly adelgid was first discovered in New York in 1985. It feeds on young twigs, causing needles to dry out and drop prematurely and cause branch dieback. Hemlock decline and mortality typically occur within four to 10 years of infestation in the insect’s northern range, according to the news release.