Maine officials worried by spread of hemlock pest


AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Officials in Maine say they’re especially worried by the big jump up the coast of a pest that threatens the state’s hemlock trees.

The Maine Forest Service and Department of Agriculture says an infestation of the hemlock wooly adelgid was confirmed last week in the town of Harpswell, about 30 miles in a straight line from the nearest known infestation in Saco.

The wooly adelgid is a nonnative species of insect from Asia that kills eastern and Carolina hemlock, but not other tree species.

The state says there are about 160,000 acres of hemlock-dominated forest in southern-coastal Maine. About 10,000 acres are infested with the adelgid.

The state is trying to control the adelgids with a species of beetle the preys on them.