Balsam Woolly Adelgid

Balsam woolly adelgid

(Adelges piceae)
*Not detected in Michigan*

Report this species:

If you notice white, waxy material on twigs, branches or stems, or twig gouting on fir trees, do not move them! Take photos, note the location and report it to:

Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, or phone the MDARD Customer Service Center, 800-292-3939.

- Or - Use the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network (MISIN) online reporting tool 

- Or - download the MISIN smartphone app and report from your phone -

Balsam woolly adelgid looks like a white, waxy substance on the bark of a balsam tree.

Jerald E. Dewey, USDA Forest Service,

balsam woolly adelgid
David McComb, USDA Forest Service, - twig gouting

balsam woolly adelgid
David Beckman, Idaho Department of Lands, 

Why we care: Balsam woolly adelgid (BWA) is a sap-feeding insect that attacks true fir trees, including balsam fir and Fraser fir. Repeated attacks weaken trees, cause twig gouting, kill branches and, over the course of several years, cause trees to die.

What is at risk? There are nearly 1.9 billion balsam fir trees in Michigan’s forests. And, as the third largest Christmas tree-growing state in the country, Michigan produces nearly 13.5 million fir trees each year, grown on over 11,500 acres. True fir trees, including forest, landscape and Christmas trees, are susceptible. Small (less than 1/32nd of an inch) purplish-black adults form white, waxy “wool” covering twigs, branches and stems of infested trees (see photo). Smaller, amber-colored crawlers hatch in midsummer. This is the mobile stage, when risk of movement by wind and wildlife is highest.

The threat: BWA could be introduced into Michigan in a number of ways, including infested nursery stock, firewood, logs and vehicles. Once here, wind, birds and animals can carry this insect for miles. What could happen in Michigan? Accidentally introduced to southeastern Canada from Europe around 1900, BWA is already established in, and continues to threaten, fir trees in the Pacific Northwest, several northeastern states and the Central Atlantic states. In Great Smoky Mountains National Park, for example, 95% of Fraser firs have been killed by BWA.

More Information:

What does Balsam Woolly Adelgid Look Like, Where is it Found, and What Trees can it Infest?

Quarantine Information

Links of Interest