Hemlock Killing Insect Detected in Northwest Michigan County
HONOR, Mich. – A small insect that can kill hemlocks by feeding on their sap has been detected at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in northwest Michigan.
Earlier this month, investigators found round, white ovisacs characteristic of the hemlock woolly aphid on a tree at 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.
Insect feeding weakens tree needles, shoots and branches. Over time, tree growth slows and trees take on a gray-green appearance.
Without treatment, infested trees die within four to 10 years, state officials said.
Michigan has been fighting the hemlock woolly adelgid since 2006 and currently has infestations in Allegan, Ottawa, Muskegon, Oceana and Mason counties. The insect was detected in October in Ludington State Park, about 112 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 do not travel far on their own, but they can be blown by the wind or carried by birds or mammals that come into contact with an infested branch. Cars, boats, or RVs parked under infested trees may also be able to transport the insects to new locations.
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