Consumers be aware of unsuspecting insects in Christmas trees

NOTE: If you buy a real Christmas tree, you should also look for invasive pests such as hemlock woolly adelgid, balsam woolly adelgid, and pine bark beetles.

by Blair Fannin, Texas A&M AgriLife

This holiday season, consumers should be aware of unwanted critters that may find their way into homes clinging to a freshly cut Christmas tree,  said a Texas A&M University entomologist.

Dr. David Ragsdale, head of the university’s entomology department in College Station, said it’s not uncommon for insects to sometimes make their way into homes after a tree has been purchased from a tree farm or retailer. Continue reading

New tree app builds partnerships between citizens and scientists

by Carol Lea Spence, University of Kentucky

TreeSnap, new phone app developed by the University of Kentucky Forest Health Research Center and the University of Tennessee Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology for Android and iOS cell phones is designed to connect scientists with foresters, landowners and interested citizens in an effort to protect and restore the nation’s trees.

A team led by Bert Abbott of the UK Forest Health Research and Education Center and a University of Tennessee team led by Meg Staton developed the free app as a part of a $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation Plant Genome Research Program. The partnership is part of a larger collaboration with Washington State University and the University of Connecticut. Continue reading

Webinar: Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Biology and Management in the Southeastern U.S.

Mar 29, 2017 1:00 pm US/Eastern

You are invited to attend the latest Live Webinar sponsored by: Southern Regional Extension Forestry / Forest Health and Invasive Species Program

Title: Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Biology and Management in the Southeastern U.S. Continue reading

Resistance breeding for evergreens is beginning to yield results

by Dee Shore, NC State University

At the Mountain Research Station in Waynesville, N.C., postdoctoral researcher Ben Smith patiently tends thousands of evergreen seedlings. His goal: to find at least a few that will tolerate two tiny but troublesome pests.

Part of NC State University’s Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, Smith works for the nonprofit Forest Restoration Alliance. His experiments have implications not only for important area industries but also for the fate of forests threatened by invasive insects. Continue reading

Invasive insects turn forests into wasteland

by Michael Casey and Patrick Whittle, Associated Press

In a towering forest of centuries-old eastern hemlocks, it’s easy to miss one of the tree’s nemeses. No larger than a speck of pepper, the Hemlock woolly adelgid spends its life on the underside of needles sucking sap, eventually killing the tree.

The bug is one in an expanding army of insects draining the life out of forests from New England to the West Coast. Aided by global trade, a warming climate and drought-weakened trees, the invaders have become one of the greatest threats to biodiversity in the United States. Continue reading

Hemlock Restoration Initiative seeks Outreach and Volunteer Engagement Associate

Applications are being accepted for the AmeriCorps Project Conserve HRI Outreach and Volunteer Engagement Associate with the Hemlock Restoration Initiative of WNC Communities.

The 11-month term will run from September 1, 2016 to July 31, 2017 and will be based out of Asheville, NC. Continue reading

Predator beetle successfully reducing adelgid populations in Smokies

From the Charlotte Observer

The granddaddy trees of North Carolina’s mountains are skeletons on many slopes.

Hemlocks that might have lived for 800 years can die in as few as five, victims of tiny, sap-sucking bugs.

Continue reading