Two types of hemlock trees can be found in the Eastern half of the U.S., those being the Eastern hemlock and the Carolina hemlock.
Noticeably in nearby forest locations in the Western part of North Carolina, the Carolina hemlock is being destroyed. The known cause is a bug called the hemlock woolly adelgid. A hemlock woolly adelgid is a known pest, introduced to the eastern U.S. in 1951, according to U.S. Forest Service website: http://www.na.fs.fed.us/fhp/hwa/. The site details that the bug is a sap sucker, originating from Asia.
These bugs do little damage to the hemlock trees in Asia, due to a possible resistance in those trees. But the trees here in our location and in eleven other Eastern U.S. states have not developed a resistance, instead they are being destroyed.
The appearance of the hemlock woolly adelgid can be clearly seen in this part of Southern Appalachia, a recent photograph obtained by the Appalachian Nature Examiner shows the appearance of white egg sacs from a fallen branch of a hemlock tree. These white egg sacs cling to the underside branch of the hemlock’s needles, thus allowing the bugs to feed.
Eventually the trees affected lose their dark green color, fading into a gray dull appearance, losing its needles. Affected Carolina hemlocks can be seen in the Western part of North Carolina, this is a visible scar on the beauty of this tree found in Southern Appalachia.
The spread of this bug is hard to control. And though the U.S. Forest Service has plans to control the hemlock woolly adelgid, noticeably this nature enthusiast is watching more and more hemlock trees die yearly.