Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA) is a devastating non-native pest of North American Tsuga canadensis (Eastern Hemlock) and Tsuga caroliniana (Carolina Hemlock). I analyzed 15 years of data collected during the period 2000–2015 to determine important winter variables influencing HWA mortality in the 3 Connecticut climatic divisions. Absolute minimum daily winter temperature, the number of subzero days (temperature drops below -17.8 °C [0 °F]), and a new interaction variable—negative degree days (NDD)—were identified as significant predictors of HWA winter mortality. The absolute minimum daily winter temperature was the most critical factor. Minimum daily winter temperatures of -24 °C, 5.5 subzero days, and -130 NDD in Division 1(Northwest); -22.4 °C, 6 subzero days, and -100 NDD in Division 2 (Central); and -21.2 °C, 2.6 subzero days, and -45 NDD in Division 3 (Coastal) resulted in 90% HWA mortality. Patterns of HWA winter mortality in coastal Division 3 were distinct from the interior and suggest cold adaptation in northern interior populations. Recent, consecutive, arctic cold air outbreaks associated with weak polar vortex events have greatly reduced HWA populations statewide, with implications for the survival, spread, and control of HWA in the northeastern US.
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Vol. 24 • No. sp7