Sep 05, 2022

By Steve Kee

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Home gardeners take note!

Researchers in Cobourg have discovered an invasive insect infestation which they say could have a detrimental effect on hemlock trees across Ontario.

The discovery, by scientists with Natural Resources Canada’s Canadian Forest Service, accidentally found the outbreak of, or H-W-A, this summer while collecting data on hemlock trees in southern Ontario.

H-W-A are aphid-like insects that pose no threat to humans but are highly destructive to hemlock trees, which are used in wood products, are essential parts of their surrounding ecosystems and are scenic fixtures in Ontario’s cottage country.

Chris MacQuarrie, a research scientist with Natural Resources Canada, says the infestation had gone undetected for some time and the find is concerning because it is much deeper than in the only other known active population in the Niagara region.

MacQuarrie says there were a large number of dead hemlock trees in the surrounding area, suggesting the bug has been present for years and may have spread beyond the infested zone.

Following the discovery, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is set to survey the surrounding area to detect any other infestations.

Anyone who spots H-W-A is encouraged to contact the agency for confirmation and handling.

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