Western Michigan Hemlocks Infested with Lethal Insect

An arborist has discovered a sap-sucking insect in western Michigan hemlocks.

An invasive insect is infecting hemlock trees in western Michigan. The hemlock wooly adelgid drains sap from its namesake tree and kills them. Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development spokesperson Jennifer Holton says once the insect decimates a hemlock, it immediately moves on to the next one.

“It moves easily on wildlife or the wind, and also because birds can move hemlock wooly adelgid, people in the area of concern, should remove any birdfeeders from hemlock trees. Number two, we’re asking folks who live, work, play in the area of concern to not move hemlock materials from anywhere within that area.”

-Jennifer Holton

Holton says in large numbers, the insect looks like a ball of cotton. She says Ottawa County has not experienced an infestation of the species since 2010.