‘Tree-Destroying’ Invasive Insect Found in Maine’s Acadia National Park

by Tia Bailey

An invasive species has been found in Maine’s Acadia National Park. The insect, first found in Virginia, destroys trees.

Hemlock woolly adelgid is a tiny insect that eats the sap of eastern hemlock trees. The insect was first detected decades ago in Richmond, Virginia. However, it has now made its way up to Maine. Acadia natural resources specialist Jesse Wheeler spoke to the park’s citizen advisory panel about the situation.

“We found it in July of this year,” Wheeler said. “We knew it was coming.”

The invasive insect, which is from Japan, weakens and kills the trees. Little spots that look like white wool is sign of an affected tree.

Although winter is coming soon, it does not mean the end for the insects. Hemlock woolly adelgid are accustomed to colder temperatures, making them even more prominent as it gets colder and other insects begin to die out.

According to Wheeler, “The park’s strategy will be to contain the insect, rather than eliminate it altogether, which means the park may have to prioritize where it implements its eastern hemlock defenses and where it decides to let the trees die off and be replaced by other tree species.”

“It will be more difficult to control the spread,” Wheeler said. “We need to prioritize because we won’t save all the hemlock.”

Director of the Schoodic Institute in Acadia, Nick Fisichelli, also shared that while he worked in Virginia, eastern hemlock trees that were infested by the insects didn’t survive the drought. This made people realize even further how dangerous these insects are to the trees.

Acadia National Park Suffered Rough Surf Conditions

Acadia National Park also experienced some rough surf conditions recently. The entire state’s coast had high, rough waves, making it dangerous for citizens to swim.

The danger was a result of high winds from Hurricane Earl.

The News Center Maine shared a statement: “The swells will create a rip current risk, and swimmers are advised to take caution. With summer unofficially ending last weekend, lifeguards will be sparse despite the warm temps at the beaches.”

Additionally, seven-foot waves were reported not too far offshore.

Yellowstone Reports Invasive Species Problem

Back in May, Yellowstone National Park was also experiencing invasive species. The park released a statement directly to anglers to be aware of the species. Anglers are fishermen who use a fishing technique that uses a fish hook or “angle” attached to a fishing line to tether individual fish in the mouth.

“Kill and report any smallmouth bass if caught within park waters,” the statement said. “Since anglers are highly effective at suppressing invasive fish in waters where they coexist with native species like cutthroat trout, the regulations now require them to kill and report any smallmouth bass if caught within park waters.”