We are getting to that time of year where you can more easily check hemlock trees for invasive woolly adelgids. The insects sprout white wool to keep them warm in the winter, which is easier to see than the black specks they tend to look like in the spring. Remember to flip the branches over to look.
It’s strange talking about aphids bundling up for the cold weather, though, when it has been such a warm start to November. Some of our local lilac bushes have budded, and my small vegetable garden rebounded with a few grape tomatoes–a tasty surprise, but unsettling. But back to the bugs.
The New York State Hemlock Initiative and the state Department of Environmental Conservation are continuing to treat a growing number of hemlock trees for the woolly adelgid. It’s a three-pronged approach: insecticide combined with the release of two predators, species of silver fly and a beetle. The predator bugs are from the Pacific Northwest, reared in a lab at Cornell University, and released all around New York. The hope is that insecticides will buy the beetles and silver flies time to populate, keeping enough hemlock trees alive while the predators start to eat the invasive insect. It takes decades of studies and vetting before any kind of biological control, like the beetle and the silver fly, are given the green light for release. I documented the second release of these beetles on Lake George. You can read more about them here.
I also made this short video about the beetle release at Paradise Bay:
In other news, the Adirondack Park Agency granted the Town of Long Lake and Hamilton County’s permit request for four footbridges to a new fire tower hike. Several community partners are working to open a new trail up Buck Mountain in Long Lake, possibly by spring next year. Alexandra Roalsvig, director of Parks, Recreation and Tourism for the town, shared some beautiful photos with us of the views from the fire tower. You can read more about that here.