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Mark Whitmore

Director of the New York State Hemlock Initiative and Senior Extension Associate, Natural Resources and the Environment, Cornell University


It’s been a tough winter but do the bugs care? An update on invasive forest pests and what we might expect in the near future.

This winter has been hard. Animals have been struggling through the snow and persistent sub-zero temperatures. But what about the bugs? Most native insects are adapted to the occasional cold winter but invasive insects often come from very different climates. How do insects deal with cold and what can we expect of those we are currently dealing with? This talk will consider a number of invasive forest pests such as the Emerald Ash Borer, Hemlock Woolly Adelgid, Spotted Lanternfly, Gypsy Moth, and Southern Pine Beetle (Yes, it’s native).


Mark has been studying insects that feed on trees for over 30 years, the last 15 of which he has focused on invasive non-native species that are changing the face of North America’s forested landscape. He started his career in forest entomology studying spruce beetles in Alaska, moved to Berkeley to focus on biological control of forest pests, and has been at Cornell since 1989. Mark currently works with professional land managers, state and federal agencies, local government officials, and concerned citizens to help them understand the issues surrounding and strategies for minimizing the impact of non-native invasive insects such as the emerald ash borer and hemlock woolly adelgid. Mark’s current research focus is on biological control of hemlock woolly adelgid.

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