Scientists battle hemlock pest

Hemlocks live longer than any other native tree in the eastern United States, up to 800 years. But a pinhead-sized pest called the woolly adelgid is threatening to wipe out entire hemlock forests by sucking the sap from the needles.
   
Widespread hemlock deaths would have devastating effects on the southern Appalachian Mountains. Loss of tree cover would affect both plants and wildlife, including temperature-sensitive trout.
   
To stop the pest, predator beetles are being raised in a Clemson facility, with support from the U.S. Forest Service and other organizations. The beetles’ are a natural enemy of the adelgid and keep the populations under control in their native Asia. Now, they are going to work in this country. Since 2004, more than 135,000 predator beetles have been released in the Chattooga Watershed in South Carolina, Georgia and North Carolina, with more on the way.
   

For more information, contact Hugh Conway at hconway@clemson.edu.