Save Michigan Hemlocks
The Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA) is an invasive species that has devastated the hemlock forests in the southeast United States. It was first detected in West Michigan in 2016 and now threatens the hemlocks of our own lakeshore and northern forests. The known extent of HWA runs right through the Land Conservancy’s service area along the Lake Michigan shoreline.
HWA is a tiny insect that targets hemlocks as their source of food. They can be found at the base of hemlock needles on the undersides of branches. The best time to detect HWA is in late fall through spring when it produces woolly masses to protect the insects and their eggs from cold temperatures. The adelgids and their eggs are spread from tree to tree by birds, vehicles, clothing, and equipment.
There is currently a large effort underway, led by the West Michigan Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Taskforce, to detect and contain the pest. Large scale surveys are occurring throughout the spring to determine how widespread the infestation is in order to guide a strategy for treatment and restoration. The taskforce is requesting that conservation organizations and concerned individuals help spread the word about HWA to get more eyes on our hemlocks.
As you hike through your favorite natural areas this spring, we ask that you join in the effort to save our hemlocks by looking for and reporting any HWA that you find.
For more information on identifying and reporting HWA please visit the taskforce website (savemihemlocks.org) or contact the Land Conservancy of West Michigan.