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Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Phenology Project
Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (Adelges tsugae) is an aphid-like invasive forest pest that lives, feeds, and reproduces exclusively on hemlock trees (genus Tsuga). Hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA) gets it name from the white, woolly mass that it grows from November-May. The insect’s presence kills buds on infested branches which prevents new twig and needle growth, eventually killing the tree in 4-20 years.
Currently, little is known about hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA) phenology across the landscape. A deeper understanding of the life cycle of HWA can tell managers where and when to release biocontrol insects, where to monitor for biocontrol establishment, and allow them to track HWA responses to different climate factors in the field. The New York State Hemlock Initiative seeks to engage citizen scientists in submitting observations on HWA to fill in the gaps in data.
Help scientists better understand when hemlock woolly adelgid insects are active and most susceptible to treatment by reporting when you see this pest in various life cycle stages.
There are two main activity periods for HWA. In the winter and spring, observers look for egg laying. From the end of the summer until the end of the fall, observers look for the growth of HWA post-dormant nymphs (which look like black sesame seeds in a white halo under a hand lens) as they wake from their summer inactivity.
How to Participate
1. Join Nature's Notebook. If you haven't already, create a Nature's Notebook account. See our specifics of observing if you need more details on getting started. You can set up a phenology monitoring site in your backyard or another location you frequent.
2. Take observations. For this effort, we are seeking observations on the following life cycle stages of hemlock woolly adelgid:
Observation tip: Nymphs are tiny! See how they compare to the size of a penny here.
The USA-NPN makes available Pheno Forecast maps that indicate when you will be most likely to see hemlock woolly adelgid eggs and active nymphs in your area.
3. Report your observations. As you collect data during the season, log into your Nature's Notebook account and enter the observation data you record. You can also use our smartphone apps to submit your observations.
Questions about this effort? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.