CONCORD, N.H. (AP) – The mild winter, wet spring and hot summer is being blamed – in part – for an increase in the diseases and insects that afflict trees.

“We are putting out a lot of little spot fires around the state,” said Kyle Lombard, forest entomologist for the Division of Forest and Lands.

The state responds to outbreaks with tools that range from insecticide injections to chain saws.

Lombard said this summer has been particularly hectic.

Among the problems are:

Fall canker worm: Deerfield has been hard hit. Devastation includes 30,000 acres of oak left without leaves since June.

Forest tent caterpillar: The outbreak has chewed through 40,000 acres surrounding Lake Sunapee. Last year, caterpillars consumed 60,000 acres.

Tar spot: Spreading out from Portsmouth, especially, the attack is hitting Norway maple trees.

Anthracnose: This group of diseases from fungi leaves tar spots on leaves and scars along the veins. The condition needs water and does not spread in dry conditions. Lombard said evergreen and deciduous trees are afflicted this year.

Balsam wooly adelgid: This insect is taking a big bite out of the state’s balsam forests, disfiguring, stunting and eventually killing trees – particularly from Lancaster to Merrimack County.

Hemlock wooly adelgid: This exotic invasive from the South has been contained in Rockingham County, where it damaged trees. Imidacloprid, an insecticide injected into soil near the roots, is working well at eliminating infestation in individual trees, Lombard said.

Webworm: Its large tents at the tips of birch trees are noticeable along roadways. Lombard said this is the worst he’s seen in years.

“Defoliants are primarily hard to control,” Lombard said.

The one exception is treating hemlock wooly adelgid. Lombard said isolating and controlling outbreaks can be hard.

“Sometimes it is just better to leave it alone, like a person when they have a cold. Rest is sometimes the best thing,” he said.

Information from: New Hampshire Union Leader,

AP-ES-09-07-06 1120EDT

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