Hemlock Trees

Amid climate change, tiny bug causes big problems

Dec 9, 2017
Caitlin Whyte / Great Lakes Today

The hemlock woolly adelgid is almost impossible to see with the naked eye. But the tiny insect causes lots of damage to hemlock trees and their surroundings. That's likely to get even more serious as a warming climate allows it to move further north.

On a rainy day, City Forester Jeanne Grace takes me on a tour of the City Cemetery where tall, evergreen trees hang over many of the graves. Hemlock trees.

The cemetery has the peace and quiet of any cemetery, but if you take a closer look at the hemlocks -- real close -- you’ll spot the hemlock woolly adelgid.

Nicholas A. Tonelll

There’s a new invasive insect causing problems in Onondaga County. The hemlock woolly adelgid has started feeding on hemlock trees in the watershed that provides water for the city of Syracuse.

An alert arborist found the bug that’s been on the eastern seaboard since the 1950s, munching on hemlock needles in trees on the Onondaga County side of Skaneateles Lake.