There is a quiet massacre of hemlocks in the Appalachians.

The hemlock woolly adelgid, a tiny pest small enough to float on the breeze, is slowly poisoning the majestic hemlock trees that make up much of this region's green canopy.

The aphid-like insects arrived in the US on ornamental plants imported from Japan in the 1920s, showing up in urban landscaping in Virginia in the 1950s.

Unchecked, they have now spread into the wild and their population exploded in the 1980s.

The damage to hemlocks in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is obvious, according to Kristine Johnson, forester.

Adelgids can be killed by injecting the trees with insecticides and with other procedures, but limits on money and manpower mean many of the trees will continue to die.

The West Virginia Citizens Conservation Corps has teamed up with the National Park Service to help save hemlocks in the Mountain State.

The groups are limiting the treatment to high profile areas.

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