Terrestrial Invasive Species

emeraldashborerNew York’s lands are under attack from numerous invasive species. Chestnut blight, European gypsy moth, Dutch elm disease beech bark disease and the Hemlock wooly adelgid have all had devastating impacts on our forests. These pests have been introduced on nursery stock, in shipping crates and as ornamental species. Fungi, plants, insects and other invaders threaten our environment. Three species of particular concern in our forests are the Asian long-horned beetle, emerald ash borer, and Hemlock Wooly Adelgid.

Terrestrial Invasive Species Lists

The Asian long-horned beetle (ALB) threatens urban and suburban shade trees and recreational and forest resources valued at hundreds of billions of dollars. While the Asian long-horned beetle has largely been confined to urban and suburban parts of the state, this species could have significant impacts on our upstate forests should it spread further. The beetle could impact industries such as maple syrup production and hardwood lumber processing, nurseries and tourism.

More the the Asian long-horned beetle

The emerald ash borer (EAB) is an invasive beetle to eastern Asia that kills all species of ash trees in North America, and has caused severe economic and ecological damage. It was first detected near Detroit in 2002, and has now spread to 28 states, the District of Columbia, and two Canadian provinces. Ash mortality is 100% near Detroit and is widespread in all the affected areas. Since the establishment of EAB in New York State we have seen economic impacts in forests where ash is a common timber species and in urban areas where ash are frequently planted as street trees.

More on the emerald ash borer


The hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA), Adelges tsugae (Annand), is an exotic pest native to Asia and western North America.  It was first described in western North America in 1924 and first reported in the eastern United States in 1951 near Richmond, VA.  This pest is now spreading through eastern forests at an alarming rate, and has the potential to remove a major component of these forests that is important in maintaining clean water and providing valuable habitat for myriad wildlife.  This pest is now found in at least 19 states, and Otsego County stands at the crossroads of the current invasion spreading north into the Adirondacks.  It is currently found on only a handful of sites in Otsego County, but surveys and programs are being done to determine the extent of the invasion. The most obvious sign of a hemlock woolly adelgid infestation is the copious masses of white filaments of wax produced by females. These “cottony” masses normally persist throughout the season and into the following year, even after the insects are dead.

If you think you have found hemlock woolly adelgid, please do the following:

  1. Take a photograph of the hemlock twig that clearly shows the infestation.
  2. Make detailed notes about the location, including address; GPS points, if possible; and detailed landmarks to help pinpoint the locations.
  3. Submit your findings through iMapInvasives or email the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Forest Health unit at foresthealth@dec.ny.gov.

Links to eastern hemlock and hemlock woolly adelgid identification guides and information:

NYS DEC Hemlock Woolly Adelgid page

New York State Hemlock Initiative

New York State Invasive Species Clearinghouse


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