This Tiny Insect Poses an Enormous Threat to the Ecosystem
Have you ever heard of the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid? Yeah, I haven’t either. Nor is there any reason for you to have heard of these tiny creatures, as they are smaller than fleas and if you were to have an infestation of them in your own home there is a decent chance that you would not even notice them. Despite their non-threatening size these little critters are causing a lot of trouble, and scientists are struggling to find a way to keep a lid on their destructive activities.
Even those who are not insect enthusiasts or keeping tabs on the state of the ecosystem have probably heard that there are certain bugs that are feasting on plant life at such an alarming rate that they are causing potentially serious environmental problems. The bugs mentioned above breed at such massive rates that not only are they destroying nearly all of the hemlocks that they can find, but by doing so they are threatening the lives of the many animals that depend on hemlocks to feed on and, naturally, live! These animals include deer, trout, and northern goshawks.
Hemlocks are the third most prevalent tree in Vermont and are crucial to the proper balance of the ecosystem. Unfortunately the increasingly mild winters are creating a perfect environment for the bugs, as severe winter cold is necessary in killing them off. In addition to that, their population was estimated to have surged to 99 percent last year, and they reproduce asexually, making reproduction a relatively struggle-free affair. If forestry officials cannot find a way of keeping the population of these bugs in check, we could soon see several animal species go extinct within the near future.
Do you live in an area where hemlock trees are being destroyed by these pests? What are officials in your area doing about it?