The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Bugs, beware

Lenoir-Rhyne students fight to save Carolina hemlocks

Hemlock woolly adelgids better beware. Students at Lenoir-Rhyne University , Hickory, N.C., aren’t about to let this invasive insect species destroy acres of natural forest.

To save a population of hemlock trees
To save a population of hemlock trees in North Carolina, Christina Sigmon Saunders (left), Elizabeth Kirby and Lakashana Corpening, students at Lenoir-Rhyne University, Hickory, N.C., hike uphill carrying water and pesticide.
Accidentally imported from Asia in the 1950s, these tiny insects now threaten all eastern hemlock and Carolina hemlock trees on the East Coast. Hemlock woolly adelgids are named for the cottony protective covering they spin to protect their eggs. Infested trees die within four to 10 years.

Last spring a Lenoir-Rhyne biodiversity class took on the challenge firsthand, spending a day applying insecticide to Carolina hemlocks in a mountainous Asheville-area forest owned by The Nature Conservancy.

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