Bar Harbor presentation to focus on tree-killing pest

Undated photo of hemlock tree infested with the hemlock woolly adelgid.
Courtesy of Maine Department of Agriculture
Undated photo of hemlock tree infested with the hemlock woolly adelgid.
Posted Feb. 27, 2012, at 5:20 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 27, 2012, at 5:54 p.m.

The Maine Forest Service will offer a presentation on the hemlock woolly adelgid — an invasive pest threatening Maine’s hemlock trees — at 5 p.m. Tuesday in Bar Harbor.

Hemlock woolly adelgids have been found in more than 30 Maine towns. While most infestations are located in the southern end of the state, three infestations have been found in the town of Mount Desert since September 2011. The Maine Forest Service is surveying additional areas on MDI and plans to expand the search to other parts of Down East Maine.

A native of Asia, the woolly adelgid is an aphidlike insect about the size of a pinhead that attacks trees by sucking out sap at the base of the needle. Infested hemlock trees will have a white, woolly or cottony substance found on the underside of branches at the base of the needles.

The adelgids gradually weaken the tree, causing many to turn brown, drop their needles and eventually die. The insect has devastated entire hemlock groves throughout the South and is steadily expanding its range.

Tuesday’s meeting, which is part of “National Invasive Species Awareness Week,” will be held at Jesup Memorial Library in Bar Harbor. The event is sponsored by the Bar Harbor Conservation Commission.

For more information, contact forest service entomologist Allison Kanoti at 287-3147 or allison.m.kanoti@maine.gov or visit www.maineforestservice.gov/HemlockWoollyAdelgid.htm.

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