Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

Hemlock Woolly Adelgid
The hemlock woolly adelgid, an insect that nests in hemlock trees and feeds on hemlock sap, has become a serious pest in lower Fairfield county.  This pest is responsible for virtually all of the dead Hemlock trees you see.  While they have been in the area for several years, we expect that this insect will be especially active this year because of the warm winter.  In previous years, Fairfield County had some week-long cold snaps which killed the eggs.  This has been an unusually warm winter, and many more eggs have survived to hatch.
Hemlock Woolly Adelgid egg masses

Hemlock Woolly Adelgid egg masses

Some of the first signs of this insect are white balls on the hemlock tree's branches nearthe needles.  These look like tiny cotton balls or wool balls, or like the end of a Q-tip. 

If the infestation is allowed to proceed, the hemlock tree will have some branches that turn brown and then die.  If this infestation is not stopped, the entire tree will die.  What's worse, the insects will move to the surrounding trees and infest them.

The Hemlock Woolly Adelgid is an invasive species and was accidentally imported from Asia. 

Hemlocks are especially valuable trees because they flourish on steep hills and thin soil in shady places where other evergreens won't grow. Connecticut has already lost its elms and American chestnut trees, and we'd hate to see another species die off.

Cotta Tree Experts recommends that you call us now to diagnose and treat this dangerous insect.

For more information, please see the USDA Pest Alert for the Hemlock Wooly Adelgid

Photos courtesy of the US Parks Service, National Forest Service and USDA.