Series of information sessions scheduled on invasive pest

The Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute is hosting a series of public information sessions on an invasive species that is damaging Nova Scotia's hemlock forests at an "alarming rate."

The sessions are open to the public and will focus on the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA).

The HWA, is an aphid-like insect that feeds on the nutrients of a hemlock tree at the base of the needles, sometimes injecting a toxin into the tree at the same time. The needles of the tree eventually turn a gray-green colour and trees can die three or four years after infestation though some die up to 10 years later.

Shelburne, Digby and Yarmouth counties have known infestations, while Queens and Annapolis counties have had some HWA sightings, particularly on the western side of the county where the infestation is starting to travel northeast.

HWA first came to North America from Japan by accident in the 1950s, first landing in Virginia. Since then the pest has traveled throughout the eastern United States and has been found in southern Ontario and in British Columbia.

The sessions will be held during February and March and will allow people learn more about the discovery of the invasive species in N.S., ask questions and participate in an open discussion at no cost.

For the entire list of presentation dates and locations, please check www.merseytobeatic.ca to stay updated or call (902) 682-2371 or email info@merseytobeatic.ca.

The first presentation will take place on February 13th at the Shelburne Community centre/fire hall from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.

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