Rangers from the U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers Shenango River Lake and Tionesta Lake attended a
Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources workshop about
the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid, March 3.
Woolly Adelgid is an invasive species that lays eggs
at the base of the tree’s needles where it meets the branch. The insects feed
on hemlock’s sap eventually killing the tree.
occurs, if not treated, it takes three to five years for the tree to die. Each
female Adelgid can lay between 100 - 300 eggs per year. The insects have
impacted the Great Smokey Mountains region, where areas of untreated trees have
completely died off.
Unless funding is
made available to treat the hemlocks at district facilities, tree populations
in this area may completely die out. Although Shenango has small populations of
the tree, the problem is more pronounced in the forests around Tionesta and
other flood control projects.
treatments are available and have proven effective for killing the insects. The
insects also react negatively to severe winter conditions. But with this year’s mild winter, there is
the possibility of a resurgence of the forest pest.
The hemlock is
the state tree of Pennsylvania and its groves are extremely important for cooling
streams for trout and other aquatic organisms. Research shows that these trees can have up to a seven degree
cooling effect on streams and creeks that they shade. According to Shenango
River Lake rangers the loss of hemlock trees in western Pennsylvania alone could
mean a loss of millions of dollars in revenue for the state in fishing and
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