Balsam Woolly Adelgid aka Adelges Piceae

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Today's forests are under a continuous compound of physical stresses. In North America examples of this are evident in all regions, whether it be the subjection of Great Lakes woodland's to acid precipitation, the submission of hundreds of thousands of forested acres out west to fire of the catastrophic level, or annual gypsy moth defoliation of entire mountain sides in north central Pennsylvania. These dangers are out there and they are only a handful of the prospective damaging agents that exist in forested areas. The focus of this term paper will be on the nature and characteristics of an insect that inhabits a coniferous species of North America. Adelges piceae, commonly known as the balsam woolly adelgid/aphid, exists by means of a parasitic relationship with specific trees native to the United States and Canada. The insect is a damaging factor that must be dealt with before it claims victims our coniferous forests and ecosystems can't live without. Adelgis piceae was accidentally introduced to North America from Europe and has become an important pest of true firs (Abies sp.). The range of the adelgid includes all of the Maritime Provinces, New England, down through the Appalachians, and is found throughout the Pacific Northwest. Currently it devastates stands of subalpine fir (Abies lasiocarpa) and severely affects growth of silver fir (Abies amabilis) in many areas. This insect is now an urban pest of ornamental firs and a major Christmas-tree plantation problem, especially with Fraser fir (Abies fraseri) growing in the Appalachians (Edmonds, 2000). Presumably it is capable of spreading over much of the range of its host. Although, the aphid generally does not survive temperatures below -34 degrees C, but may pe... ... middle of paper ... ...and vigorous each species appeared to be. Then we hiked to the highest point in the Smokies, Clingman's Dome. It was evident immediately that something was affecting the trees surrounding the 6,700 feet tall work of nature. Upon further investigation, I was informed that it was the fir trees, Frasier fir to be specific, that lined the mountainsides with their decaying remains. My initial reaction was to curse a common predator of our coniferous species present at higher elevations, acid rain. To my surprise though, I later read that it wasn't the acid precipitation claiming the lives of the magnificent firs, it was the balsam woolly adelgid. An insect less than 2mm long was responsible for the demise of hundreds of old-growth Frasier firs. At that moment I felt the thirst for knowledge and I have now quenched that thirst through the writing of this paper.

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