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Hemlock Woolly Adelgid is an Invasive Species That Feeds on Base of Hemlock Trees & Robs Them of Nutrients – Infestations That Are Not Taken Care of Within One Year Will Often Lead to Death of the Hemlock

Schumer Called on U.S. Forest Service to Prioritize Funding to Better Control Spread of the Pest in November – Newly Proposed USDA Plan Would Seek to Combat Pest in Fed Forest Land in Seneca & Schuyler Counties


Schumer: Fed Plan Is Good Start To Combat Dangerous Pest & Should Get Started Right Away


Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has proposed a plan to control the spread of the invasive species Hemlock Woolly Adelgid in Finger Lakes National Forest, which spans Seneca and Schuyler counties. Schumer explained that the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid, an invasive insect that feeds at the base of hemlock needles and ultimately kills the tree due to a lack of nutrients, has reemerged this year across Upstate New York. With this invasive species threatening to kill hemlock trees across the state, Schumer urged the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) in November to prioritize funding and resources to help communities across Upstate New York slow the spread of this pest. Schumer said that the USDA’s proposal, called the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Suppression Project would use biological and chemical control techniques on close to 3,000 acres of the Finger Lakes National Forest land in the following watersheds: Mill Creek, Breakneck Creek, Curry Creek, Sawmill Creek, Ravine Creek, McBride Creek, Potomac Creek, Hencoop Creek, and Spring Brook. According to the USDA, without this plan, the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid threatens widespread mortality of Eastern hemlock trees on the Finger Lakes National Forest as well as on adjacent state and local land. Schumer said that this proposal is a good start to help control the spread of this invasive pest, and he urged the USDA to get started right away. Schumer also reiterated his call for efforts to be expanded across all of the Finger Lakes and Southern Tier counties where the pest has begun to take hold.

“Invasive species like the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid have the potential to decimate large swathes of land across Upstate New York and we must stop this pest in its tracks before it kills precious trees all across the state,” said Schumer. “The USDA has laid out an ambitious plan to try to control this invasive species within the Finger Lakes National Forest, and this plan is a step in the right direction toward implementing the pest-control methods we need throughout the state. I urge the USDA to implement this plan as soon as possible and to expand its efforts to all of the Finger Lakes and Southern Tier counties where this pest is beginning to take hold.”

According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC), the hemlock woolly adelgid was first discovered in New York in the 1980s in the Hudson Valley. Since then, it has spread north and west to the Catskills, the Capital Region, the Finger Lakes parts of Western New York. In total, the pest is currently found in hemlock trees in 25 counties across New York. Schumer said that this invasive species has reemerged and spread again this year – particularly in the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes – and has the potential to kill many trees again. Schumer said this pest poses a major threat to both the natural ecosystem and the local economy of many communities, particularly those that depend on the timber industry. Given the spread of the pest this year and the potential damage it could cause, Schumer said it is important that the federal government quickly dedicate all necessary resources to stem the spread of this pest.


The Hemlock Woolly Adelgid is an invasive insect that feeds on the sap produced by the hemlock tree. This pest feeds at the base of hemlock needles and ultimately kills the tree due to a lack of nutrients. This pest typically goes through two developmental stages during the year. First, during the months of March through June, the insect feeds on the sap of the tree until it is read to lay a batch of eggs, which hatch in early July. After this stage, the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid settle into another hemlock and become dormant until October. Last year, Schumer called on USFS to dedicate resources to contain the spread of Woolly Adelgid before the cycle begins again. They sustain themselves throughout the winter on the tree sap until they are ready to lay eggs again and the repeat this cycle.


According to NYS DEC, this pest has been found in 25 counties across Upstate New York since the 1980’s, including the following in Upstate New York: Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Sullivan, Orange, Ulster, Dutchess, Columbia, Greene, Albany, Schoharie, Schenectady, Rensselaer, Delaware, Otsego, Broome, Tioga, Chemung, Steuben, Schuyler, Tompkins, Yates, Seneca, Cayuga, Livingston, Wyoming, Monroe and Erie.


Schumer said that, without early detection, most trees will ultimately die from a Hemlock Woolly Adelgid infestation. Once an infestation is identified, trees need to be treated immediately. Trees typically need to be treated within one year of an infestation and are likely to die between four to 10 years of an infestation. Schumer explained that chemical insecticides, like imidacloprid, are the most common way of treating an infestation. Treatment can be administered by a professional or by homeowners who purchase the product at a store. However, these treatments can often be very expensive for homeowners that may have many hemlock trees on their properties to treat. Schumer also said that biological controls, like those released into nature to slow the spread of the Gypsy Moth, are also often effective treatments. Schumer said that, without drastic and immediate intervention, industries relying on New York for quality hardwood resources, like timber, will suffer.


In addition, the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid has the potential to kill trees and disturb the natural balance of New York’s forests, which provide recreational opportunities to many and foster tourism. That is why, Schumer said, it is critical that federal agencies like USDA direct further research to examine potential biological controls for the Hemlock Woolly Adlegid and work with private land owners to best educate the public about the pest. In November, Schumer pushed the USFS to rapidly prioritize funding and resources toward providing research that will help localities across New York State deal with the issue. Schumer urged the USFS to dedicate all necessary resources to stop the spread of the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid, direct further research to examine potential biological controls for the pest, and work with private land owners to best educate the public about the invasive species. He is also urged the USFS to work with the New York Department of Environmental Conservation and other local governments across New York in developing effective models to slow the spread of the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid.


Schumer has been a longtime advocate of preserving federal programs that will help New York fight back against invasive species and pests. In 2011, Schumer pushed against proposed Congressional cuts for invasive species funding that could exacerbate Upstate New York’s growing Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) problem. The Emerald Ash Borer is a bright green beetle that kills trees by burrowing into their bark and destroying the trees’ ability to bring water from the roots to upper branches. Trees infected with the pest usually begin to die within two to three years. The pest, which was first discovered in New York in 2009 and was discovered in Buffalo earlier in 2011, threatened more than 23 million ash trees in Erie County as well as the timber and lumber industries they support. EAB was first found in Cattaraugus County during 2009, and all 39 infested trees were destroyed.