A new research lab announced for Cornell University will fight a tiny pest destroying hemlock trees. The Hemlock Woolly Adelgid is threatening trees in about half of the state’s 62 counties and more than a dozen states nationwide. In Ontario and surrounding counties the invasive specie has been found around Canandaigua and Honeoye lakes and other areas.
The $1.2 million laboratory will focus on research and biological controls — ways of stopping the insect from killing trees other than relying on insecticides. Cornell entomologist Mark Whitmore will head the new biocontrol lab to be housed on the Cornell campus in Ithaca. It will be partially funded by the state Department of Environmental Conservation with monies from the state’s Environmental Protection Fund.
“Preventing the spread of invasive species is the most effective way to fight and address the damage these species can cause to our natural resources,” stated DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. He mentioned the DEC’s partnership and ongoing work with Cornell University and said that the use of better biological controls will bolster “ongoing efforts to protect New York’s irreplaceable hemlock forests.”