Experts warn public about invasive tree-killing insect found in N.S.
Natural Resources Canada is warning the public about a tree-killing insect that has made an appearance in Nova Scotia.
The hemlock woolly adelgid isn’t native to the Maritimes, but has been found in Nova Scotia over the last few years.
“HWA, also known as hemlock woolly adelgid, is a small insect pest of hemlock species in North America,” said Natural Resources Canada research scientist, Lucas Roscoe. “It’s originally from Japan and is considered an invasive species in the eastern United States.”
The insect, which causes serious damage to hemlock trees, was first discovered in N.S. in 2017. The arrival of the species causes great concerns due to the rich Acadian forests in the province.
“We’re trying to study it, get an idea of its biology, ways of finding it, so we can slow it down, potentially stop its spread into New Brunswick,” said Roscoe.
Although HWA hasn’t been found in New Brunswick yet, researches are concerned due to the volume of vulnerable hemlock trees available in that province, as well as how easily HWA can spread across a region.
“This species is easily transported through infested materials such as branches from infested areas,” explained Roscoe.
The insects are also known to travel on logs or birds. Forestry experts say climate change isn’t helping.
“It’s typically a pest that would be found in more southern climates, but with the climate change and the gradual warming, it’s becoming more favourable for those types of pests to exist here in New Brunswick,” said municipal arborist, Mike Glynn.
A similar story with the emerald ash borer, also being studied in a New Brunswick lab.
“Both species can be spread quite easily through infested material, and both represent potential and serious threats to the species that they attack,” said Roscoe.
Experts say this is also why it is so important to buy local firewood when travelling.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Jessica Ng