Collaborative Efforts Combating Invasive Species: Discussion on the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

Apr 13, 2012 Issues: Agriculture

Earlier this week, I organized a forum on the topic of forest management and invasive species which was held at Penn State University.  The discussion focused specifically on the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid and efforts to protect the health and sustainability of eastern hemlock.

As some may know, the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid was first recognized in Virginia in 1951 and has been found in the Eastern United States from Maine to Georgia. The species threatens the sustainability and health of the eastern hemlock - Pennsylvania’s state tree and one of the most dominate species in the Commonwealth’s forests, and forests throughout the Northeast. 

Leading researchers from Penn State University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service (FS) participated, including entomologist and College of Agricultural Sciences Dean, Dr. Bruce McPheron, Penn State entomology professor, Kelli Hoover, and FS Project Leader for Ecology and Management of Invasive Species and Forest Ecosystems, Dr. Kurt Gottschalk. 

The forum was intended to benefit forest landowners, outdoor enthusiasts, and all others who enjoy and rely on Pennsylvania’s forest lands, and offer the opportunity for the experts and the community to come together, discuss and learn about these issues, and experience some of the great work going on right in our backyards to combat this invasive species. Below you will find several pictures from the event and passages from a subsequent news report written by the Centre Daily Times.  

"Pennsylvania’s state tree — the eastern hemlock — is threatened by a bug in about three-quarters of counties. Local farmers hope to draw attention to the problem, and Penn State researchers are working to find a natural enemy to combat the bug — the hemlock woolly adelgid. Landowners and Penn State, state and federal forestry officials gathered on campus Tuesday for a public forum on the issue, hosted by U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-Howard Township. Thompson, chairman of the subcommittee on conservation, energy and forestry, organized the forum after retired farmer Jim Walizer approached him for help with the insect...

"Bruce McPheron, dean of Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, characterized the bug’s movement as slow, but sure. It is present in 53 counties, with Indiana added to the list in 2011. There are various ways to manage the bug. The state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources monitors counties where it hasn’t yet been discovered, including nearby Clearfield and Cambria counties. Chemical control is one option to treat individual trees, including sprays and injections...

"Kurt Gottschalk, a research forester with the U.S. Forest Service, said researchers are testing a fungus that can be sprayed from the air, but testing sites can be no larger than 10 acres. The product is licensed in Europe, but not yet in the U.S...

"Kelli Hoover, a Penn State entomology professor, is researching biological controls with graduate students and the Forest Service. The woolly adelgid is a pest here because it has a food source, but no natural enemies to keep it under control. The process begins with finding those enemies in Asia, and can take about a decade before those enemies can be released onto the hemlocks. Hoover’s group found a small lady beetle it hopes can do the job: Scymnus camptodromus, or SC for short..."

To view the full article from the Centre Daily Times, click here