KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — In this week’s Smoky Mountain Minute, Forestry Biologist for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park Glenn Taylor highlighted forest health.

Taylor talked about forest pests in the park, the future pests they are expecting, and what visitors can do to help prevent introducing forest pests to the park.

Taylor outlined the top three forest pests the park is currently facing. They are listed below:

  • Hemlock woolly adelgid: A non-native aphid-like insect that feeds on our eastern hemlock trees.
  • Emerald ash borer: A non-native wood boring beetle that feeds under the bark of ash trees and has killed most of the untreated ash trees in the 36 states it now infests.
  • Balsam woolly adelgid (BWA): A non-native aphid like insect that feeds on fir trees, like the Fraser fir found in the Smokies. Right now BWA are not that easy to find but they have killed or impacted Fraser firs in the Smokies and elsewhere since the 1960s. They may make a comeback as the seedlings that are growing now become infested.