Biocontrol Bugs Being Released in Rochester

While we often say that we are at a busy time of the year here at the New York State Hemlock Initiative, it seems like that has never been more true. Last week we received a shipment of Leucopis spp. silverflies, collected by our own Mark Whitmore. Currently housed in Cornell University’s SARL quarantine facility, a portion of these flies will be released tomorrow afternoon in a park near Rochester, NY. Their audience will include not only the NYSHI crew, but a group of Canadian natural resources professionals, and Citizen Science volunteers who will be joining us from Ontario.

Mark releasing HWA predators in Zoar Valley in 2015

Hemlock woolly adelgid, like any other pest, knows no boundaries. It doesn’t need a passport to move across borders and once it’s there, it doesn’t announce its presence with tourist photos splashed across Facebook¬†or Instagram. Unfortunately, it seems that we are often surprised that HWA has arrived in a place. Here in New York, the first Adirondack infestation, in July 2017, comes to mind. For our Canadian brethren, perhaps it is the infestations in the forests of southern Nova Scotia. When HWA was first spotted there, it was thought that a quick treatment would help eradicate it in the area, but now it is apparent that HWA is established and that more aggressive management tactics are needed. This has led to partnerships that help us continue to improve our knowledge of HWA and increase our capacity to monitor and treat infestations.

Our coordination efforts here in New York are only part of the conservation equation. We often share information, research, educational materials, and seasonal reports with our neighbors to the north. With friends from Canada coming down to share in our first biocontrol release of the 2018 field season, we will be enjoying the fruits of our partnership’s labor. We will continue to lean on each other going forward as we research and implement biocontrol as a means to manage HWA here on the East Coast.