Hemlock-killing insect detected in Northwest Michigan County
HONOR, Mich. (AP) – A small insect that can kill hemlock trees by feeding on their sap has been detected at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in northwest Michigan.
Earlier this month, surveyors found round, white ovisacs characteristic of the hemlock woolly aphid on a tree at the Platte River campground in Honor, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development said. Michigan.
The popular campground is in northern Benzie County, southwest of Traverse City.
Feeding insects weakens the needles, shoots and branches of trees. Over time, tree growth slows down and the trees take on a grayish-green appearance.
Left untreated, infested trees die within four to ten years, state officials said.
Michigan has been fighting the hemlock woolly aphid since 2006 and is currently infested in Allegan, Ottawa, Muskegon, Oceana and Mason counties. The insect was detected in October in Ludington State Park, about 70 miles south of Sleeping Bear Dunes.
The hemlock woolly aphid likely arrived in Michigan on infested nursery stock from northeastern states, officials said.
The tiny insects don’t move far on their own, but they can be blown away or carried by birds or mammals that come in contact with an infested branch. Cars, boats, or RVs parked under infested trees can also carry insects to new places.