- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 13, 2015

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Officials say a tree-killing pest that targets hemlocks has been eradicated from three Michigan counties.

The hemlock woolly adelgid is a small insect equipped with long, siphoning mouth parts that enable it to suck sap from hemlock trees. It’s native to Asia but was discovered in Virginia in 1951 and has spread across much of the eastern U.S.

It was detected in Emmet County in 2006, where infested hemlock nursery stock had been planted for residential landscaping. In 2010, it was found in Macomb and Ottawa counties.

Director Jamie Clover Adams of the Michigan Department of Agriculture says infested trees at each site have been removed and destroyed. Nearby trees were treated with pesticides.

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

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