The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) has 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 United States 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 survey work being conducted by the ODNR Division of Forestry in Shawnee State Forest.
At this time, the Department of Agriculture says it will move to expand its hemlock quarantine, enforced by the 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.