Hemlock trees are an iconic symbol of Montreat. Yet they are endangered and are being destroyed locally and across our region by a tiny insect, the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (Adelges tsugae), which was introduced accidentally from southern Japan. Winter is the time when female adelgids produce the white woolly masses of wax under hemlock leaves (pictured here). If you spot them, you know there are adelgids on your hemlock. The female will lay eggs into these “ovisacs,” and the nymphs that hatch will suck on the hemlock tree for food. Ultimately the infested hemlocks can die. Fortunately, integrated treatment using biological and chemical practices can save hemlocks, as being demonstrated right here in Montreat. See webpage http://www.montreatlandcare.org/project/hemlocks/ . A good source of information on the subject, with excellent pictures, is available at http://www.nyis.info/user_uploads/files/HWA%20Factsheet%20NYIS_INFO.pdf. (Image (c) Joe Standaert.)