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Ohio Department of Agriculture discovers Hemlock pest

Will begin to quarantine hemlock materials

By Diego Flammini,

What do you think of when you hear the word pest?

For hockey fans, pest can be used to describe a player on the opposing team who stops at nothing to get under the skin of his opponents whether it be through words, scoring an important goal or throwing a cheap punch after the referee blows their whistle.

People who have siblings may even refer to them as pests. The bravest of them all might even call their significant other that name (but probably not aloud).

In Jackson County, Ohio, a different kind of pest has been discovered – the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA). The confirmation of the insect in Jackson County makes it the seventh in the state, joining Washington and Meigs counties in 2012, Hocking County in 2013, and Lawrence, Monroe, and Vinton counties last year.

The tiny insect which is native to Asia feeds on the sap from hemlock and spruce (Christmas) trees. As a result, the Ohio Department of Agriculture is quarantining any hemlock materials.

The most common uses for hemlock trees are boxes and pallets, crates, framing, plywood and for other construction reasons.

The easiest way to identify if a tree is infected with the HWA is the emergence of small wax excretions that look like tiny snow or cotton balls. If there is an infestation, the tree could see twig and limb dieback damage within two years and be completely dead in about five years.

To treat individual trees, non-toxic horticultural oils or insecticidal soaps are used. As they dry, they smother the insect and trees should be sprayed annually.

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