ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is encouraging residents to report sightings of the invasive hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA). The DEC said this tiny insect is a big problem for forests and water resources in the northeast.

HWA threatens the eastern hemlock, which makes up large portions of the canopy in many New York forests and maintains water quality in streams by providing shade. The DEC said HWA lives, reproduces and feeds on hemlock trees, killing trees within four to 10 years.

Residents can see where this invasive species has been reported on the NY iMapInvasives website. The website shows HWA has been reported in the Capital Region.

You can help by checking your trees for HWA and reporting your findings to iMapInvasives. Keep an eye out for small white “fuzz balls” on the undersides of hemlock twigs – the DEC said those are HWA egg masses. Even if you don’t find any, you can let iMap know by submitting a “not-detected” report.

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