Hemlock-Killing Pest Discovered In Southeast Ohio

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The Ohio Department of Agriculture and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources have just announced the discovery of a hemlock-killing pest in southeast Ohio.

Drew Todd is with the Ohio Division of Forestry.

"It came into the United States in the west coast in the 1920's or and made its way here to the east later on," says Todd.

Todd is a Forest Health Administrator for Ohio and he says the relatively small infestation was discovered as part of ODNR's ongoing forest health survey program.

"This last month we were looking at some hemlock stands in Meigs County…and noticed some cottony looking substance on some of the lower branches of hemlock trees.  We took those branches to the Ohio Department of Agriculture for confirmation," says Todd.

At this time, five trees out of approximately 500 hemlock trees surveyed were infested.

"If we weren't concerned about it, we wouldn't be looking for it," says Todd. 

The Hemlock Wooly Adelgid is primarily transmitted by wind and birds.

Officials believe the finding in Ohio is the result of natural spread from nearby areas where the pest is established.

After further survey of the areas surrounding the site of infestation, state and federal officials will determine an appropriate course of action.

"We'll sit down with the Ohio Department of Agriculture and the U.S.D.A. Forest Service to come up with a plan on how to address this particular infestation." says Todd.