- Associated Press - Friday, August 14, 2015

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (AP) - State officials are crediting an Ottawa County tree surgeon with helping catch an infestation of an invasive tree parasite in the early stages.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development says the arborist was working in Park Township this summer when he spotted a suspicious insect. It was the hemlock woolly adelgid, which uses long, siphoning mouth parts to suck sap from hemlock trees.

The insect is native to Asia but since the early 1950s has decimated hemlock stands across the eastern U.S.

Michigan has more than 100 million hemlocks, which provide valuable habitat for birds, deer and other wildlife.

Officials surveyed the area around the Ottawa County discovery and found two other locations with hemlock woolly adelgids.

Property owners are being notified and infested trees are being treated.

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