Each year the Great Smoky Mountains receive visitors from all over the world excited to see the beauty of the park. Unfortunately not all guests are here to take pictures.
The hemlock wooly adelgid is a small aphid insect that was discovered in the park in 2002. The tiny insect feeds off of the nutrients in hemlock trees eventually causing them to die. Since hemlock trees have an important presence in every part of the park, the wooly adelgid has become a serious problem.
Since its discovery, personnel from the Great Smoky Mountain National Park have been treating the hemlock trees two different ways. The trees are treated chemically with insecticides and then also through biocontrol predator beetles that are meant to lower the population of the adelgid.
There has been great success in treating the trees chemically, but it won't last forever. The hope is that once the predator beetles have established themselves it will help to control the wooly adelgid and save a large number of hemlock trees.