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Fir-damaging insect turns up in Michigan, according to DNR

The bug is a threat to the state's large Christmas tree-growing market

MADISON, Wis. -- The first verified detection of balsam woolly adelgid (BWA) was located in Michigan near Grand Rapids, according to an announcement from the Michigan DNR.

“This invasive insect is a threat to the nearly 1.9 billion balsam fir trees in Michigan’s forests,” said Rob Miller, a DNR invasive species prevention and response specialist in a statement. “And, as the third largest Christmas tree-growing state in the country, Michigan produces nearly 13.5 million fir trees each year, which are susceptible to balsam woolly adelgid.”

Gary McDowell, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) Director, made the announcement in August.

“It’s not known how BWA may have gotten to Michigan or how long it’s been here, but it’s plausible it was on infested nursery stock,” said McDowell. “Arborists, tree experts and the public are our extra set of eyes on invasive species. With August being National Tree Check month, this is another critical reminder to look for irregularities with your trees and to not move firewood.”

Forest Data Network has previously examined infestations of the hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA). See here.

Here's more information from the Michigan DNR:

Balsam woolly adelgid is a tiny, sap-feeding insect that attacks true fir trees, including balsam, Fraser and concolor (white) fir. BWA has been on Michigan’s Invasive Species Watch List for years because repeated attacks from the pest weaken trees, cause twig grouting, kill branches and, over the course of many years, cause trees to decline or die. Although new to Michigan, BWA has infested fir trees in portions of the United States for over 100 years, likely arriving on infested nursery stock from Europe.

If you notice symptoms, the DNR asked that you take photos, note the location and report it to the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network or MDARD at MDAInfo@Michigan.gov or call 800-292-3939. For more information on balsam woolly adelgid and other invasive species in Michigan, and to find out what you can do to help prevent them, visit Michigan.gov/Invasives.




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