There are plenty of invasive species in Michigan, and other parts of the Midwest, but now, one in particular could be threatening our forests, specifically a large amount of evergreen trees that fill the forests of Michigan.

Keep an eye on your Eastern Hemlock trees as this Asian invasive species could soon kill off a large portion of them.

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Reports in west Michigan have been confirmed of the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid, which is an insect that, in particular, likes the taste of the Eastern  Hemlock Evergreen tree. While not uncommon in the U.S., the tiny inset isn't indigenous, and in fact, came to us from Japan.

The insect is small, but can be found easily by identifying small, cotton-like balls, or bulbs right where the leaves connect with the stems or branches of the tree. Each of these small bulbs can contain up to a dozen or more of the insects, which feed on the trees.

The bugs are quite small, less than a millimeter long, and oval shaped. But in large amounts the bugs can cause huge damage. As they feed on the trees, some will inject a toxin that further harms it, causing it to die. It not only causes the tree to lose its needles, but won't allow them to grow back.

Woolly Hemlock Adelgid

Michigan is home to approximately 170 million Eastern Hemlock trees that provide a large amount of habitat for animals that live in the forests. They also provide protection against erosion along rivers and streams.

The Michigan DNR suggests that if you see the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid on your trees, not to remove them. It could cause a further spread of the disease. Instead, they ask that you take photos, and note of the location of the affected trees, and report it directly to them using the Midwest Invasive Species Information network.

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