MDARD Detects Invasive Species in Benzie County

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has been working in counties on the west side of the state to get rid of the Hemlock woolly adelgid.

It is an insect that can devastate forests of trees.

Invasive species specialist, Robert Miller says, “Hemlock woolly adelgid is a small aphid like insect that uses its long siphoning mouth parts to extract sap from Hemlock trees, ultimately damaging and killing the trees.”

Over the last few years, Miller says new discoveries have led to more investigations.

“Unfortunately Hemlock woolly adelgid has become established in Allegan, Ottawa, Muskegon, Oceana, and Mason County and we’re working to respond to those infestations,” said Miller.

Most recently, they found a case at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

“It was found at the Platte River Campground. So far, just in one tree. Our [vegetation] crew has been doing surveys as recommended by Michigan DNR in a radius around the original location,” said Vince Cavalieri, wildlife biologist for the park.54797292 D94e 421e Ae06 C50988ef761c

He says the insect must have come through travel.

Cavalieri says, “It could have been a camper or RV that was parked underneath an infected tree in another area and then was able to get on the Hemlock in the campground for that source.”

Now, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development says they are still surveying trees.

They plan to start treating those that are infected at the beginning of summer.