We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Well, not exactly poisoned, but the majestic and beloved Eastern Hemlock (aka Canadian Hemlock) groves of the eastern US (range map here) have been under lethal assault by the Wooly Adelgid, a tiny bug native to Japan whose presence is obvious from the white cottony material on the bottom of the Hemlock needles. (photo below)
According to a report in Science Daily, the adelgid has killed 90% of the Hemlocks in the Shenandoah Valley.
Well, I'm glad the entomologists at Virginia Tech are finally catching up. Dr. Mark McClure, of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station led the charge on this back in the late 1980's and early 1990's. As a licensed arborist, I witnessed the early destruction caused by the adelgid, as well as the partial recovery that the stands have made.
Kudos to VT for their hard work in finding at least one other predator, other than the beetle, p. tsugae, which Mark brought back to the States in 1992.
Notice how the scientists at Yale ". . . performed a series of DNA comparisons between HWA and other adelgid populations in China, Japan, [blah, blah] . . . discovered that the insect plaguing eastern hemlocks originated in the Osaka region of Japan." Good. Also notice how the people at CT Ag Station and VT flew over to Japan and bought some beetle eggs and larvae to start to solve the problem. I could never figure out why the School of Forestry at Yale was so silent on the problem all these years . . . were they waiting for DNA research to be discovered? :-)
I remember spending time in a climax forest of Hemlocks in northern Canada... quiet and beautiful, with just a shaft of light here or there streaming down through them. Even with the restricted light some plants would eke out a living on the forest floor... catnip stands being one...
I hope that something can be found for these majestic trees.
Beware jumping on solutions that work in other countries. Southern paper companys imported the Japanese hornets to deal with pine borers and ended up with Southern forests full of 1 1/2" inch long hornets with nasty tempers. The sting from these critters can ruin your day, hell your whole week!! Now how do we get rid of the hornets?
In my CT trees I have seen the adelgids drop back considerably in the past few years. We have one large tree near the house sprayed every year, but the ones in the woods were unprotected. I don't see the infestations any more and the trees have recovered much of their lost needles.