By Gwendolyn Craig
The state Department of Environmental Conservation treated about 2,500 hemlock trees around 138 acres near Lake George in Washington County for the invasive hemlock woolly adelgid, according to a news release.
The hemlock woolly adelgid is a small invasive insect native to Asia. The infestation near the Shelving Rock Special Management Area, Buck Mountain Trailhead, Dome Island and Glen Island Campground was first reported in August.
The DEC is using two kinds of insecticides, one a spray and one an injection, which kill the woolly adelgid. The treatment began on Oct. 6 and finished up at the end of October.
“Additionally, 80 trees in sensitive locations were treated by a direct injection method to further reduce impacts on non-target species and to the watershed,” according to a DEC release.
The New York State Hemlock Initiative, a state-funded organization out of Cornell University, also released 620 Laricobius beetles to eat the woolly adelgids. Mark Whitmore, lead entomologist with the initiative, said it will take some time to determine if the beetle populations will establish and keep the woolly adelgid population in check.
The work is partially bolstered by a $3.5 million five-year agreement funded through the state’s Environmental Protection Fund. The partnership announced in September involves the New York Invasive Species Research Institute and Cornell University. Of that pot of money, $2.5 million will be used toward invasive species projects more generally while $1 million will go specifically to the New York Hemlock Initiative.
“This work provides a critical service by developing methods to conserve hemlock, including the growth and release of several biological control agents and other fundamental survey, research, and trend analyses,” according to the DEC.
This Lake George infestation is the second known infestation of hemlock woolly adelgid in the Adirondack Park. In 2017, hemlock trees on Prospect Mountain were also treated with the same insecticides. So far, that infestation appears to have been stamped out.
To report possible sightings of hemlock woolly adelgid, contact the DEC’s forest pest line at 1-866-640-0652.