Hemlock Woolly AdelgidThere are approximately 6.6 million hemlocks in Kentucky, 98% of which are located in the eastern one-third of the state.  These hemlocks are all at risk of being attacked by the hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA) which is a serious threat to Eastern and Carolina hemlock trees of all sizes.  These tiny (1/16 inch) insects cover themselves with a white wool, hence the name.  Feeding by this pest causes grayish-green foliage, premature needle drop, thinned crowns, branch tip dieback, and eventual tree death.  Since the first report of this Asian pest in the eastern United States in 1951, HWA has become established in about half of the native hemlock range in the eastern United States and has killed about 90% of the hemlocks in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. 

This devastating insect was first discovered in Kentucky in April of 2006.  Since then, forests in eastern Kentucky have been extensively surveyed for HWA.  These surveys have led to many new county records for this pest. 

Counties found to have hemlock woolly adelgid:

2006

  • Bell County
  • Harlan County

2007

  • Bell County
  • Harlan County
  • Leslie County
  • Letcher County

2008

  • Bell County
  • Clay County
  • Pike County
  • Grayson County (urban infestation; eradicated)
  • Harlan County
  • Leslie County
  • Letcher County
  • Oldham County (urban infestation; eradicated)
  • Powell County
  • Whitley County

2009

  • Perry County
  • Powell County
  • Pike County

2010

  • Breathitt County
  • Floyd County
  • Pike County

2011

  • Knox County
  • Rowan County
  • Whitley County

2012

  • Bell County
  • Elliott County
  • Knott County
  • Menifee County

2013

  • Magoffin County
  • Martin County

2014

  • Surveys in Lawrence, Greenup, Carter, and Floyd Counties yielded no new HWA finds.

Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Damage  

Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

The map below shows the first find of HWA in Kentucky, at Rebel's Rock in Harlan County in April 2006, and other positive sites later discovered that same year..

Below is the latest map generated by the Kentucky Division of Forestry.