Cold winter helps save the state tree

Written by Ben Allen and Radio Pennsylvania | Mar 29, 2014 7:00 AM

(Harrisburg) -- The cold winter isn't all bad news - it also helped kill an insect that has been destroying one of Pennsylvania's beloved state trees.

The woolly adelgid attacks the Eastern Hemlock, but the state Bureau of Forestry estimates large groups of the insects took a hit this winter.


Photo by Scott Basford/wikicommons

The development will help the state be more proactive, instead of reactive, to the pest.

But it doesn't mean the problem is solved, says the bureau's Donald Eggen.

"The insect can suffer about 90, 91 percent mortality, and still maintain its population. Each insect is a female and she doesn't need a male to reproduce. She produces about 50 to 60 eggs per year. And there's two generations per year."

Eggen says the cold may have helped with the woolly adelgid, but didn't do much damage to the invasive insect the emerald ash borer.

That insect has already damaged millions of trees in neighboring states, and is in at least 47 of the commonwealth's 67 counties.

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