Posts Tagged ‘invasive insects’

Pesky Little Bugs

Every year is the same thing. Brown bugs covering garages, getting inside sheds and houses, and making their way into window frames. It seems like an invasion in certain parts of the country.

Here in Michigan, we have no shortage of invasive brown marmorated stink bugs. Fortunately, they haven’t reached plague proportions, but they are still a nuisance. And thanks to the citizen scientists across the state, we now have a good idea of where they are! Thanks to regular residents reporting sightings, Michigan State University Extension has a better idea of the population of brown marmorated stink bugs and how they are distributed.

But there’s still more work to be done.

Most of the reports came from the southern part of the Lower Peninsula. That makes sense since that’s where most of the people are. So if you live (or visit) the Upper Peninsula or the northern Lower Peninsula, we still need your data! Read the article below to find out how.

 

Why and how to report sightings of brown marmorated stink bugs in your home or business

September 2017 update on why and how to report sightings of brown marmorated stink bugs to the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network.

Posted on September 18, 2017 by Julianna Wilson, Michigan State University Extension, Department of Entomology

Adult brown marmorated stink bugs like to move into homes in the fall to take shelter for the winter. They are harmless to humans and pets, but are on the verge of being an important pest in fruit and vegetable crops in Michigan. Photo by Jim Engelsma.

Adult brown marmorated stink bugs like to move into homes in the fall to take shelter for the winter. They are harmless to humans and pets, but are on the verge of being an important pest in fruit and vegetable crops in Michigan. Photo by Jim Engelsma.

When we first published this article in September 2015, we knew very little about where the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) would be found in Michigan. Now, thanks to the eager reporting by many hundreds of people who saw that first article, we now know it is well-established across most of the southern half of the Lower Peninsula (see map below). If you live outside of this area, especially in the northern half of the Lower Peninsula or in the Upper Peninsula, and would like to submit a report, please follow the instructions below. Otherwise, please check out the resources at the end of this article for more information on what BMSB is, what it is doing in homes and what to do about it.

What is the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB)?

The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is a 0.5- by 0.625-inch shield-shaped insect that uses its piercing mouthparts to suck plant juices from fruits, seed pods and nuts on a wide variety of wild and cultivated plants. It was accidentally brought to North America from Asia sometime before 1996 and was first detected in Michigan in 2010. Also known by its scientific name, Halyomorpha halys, BMSB adults and nymphs – the immature stages of the bug – feed on a number of important fruit, vegetable and ornamental crops. Where it has been established for some time, it is now a major pest for growers of susceptible crops.

BMSB body parts

Brown marmorated stink bugs have dark and light banding along the margin of the insect’s body and white bands on its antennae and legs. Photo by Jeff Wildonger, USDA ARS BIIR

Part of the pattern of establishment by this pest is that it starts out as a nuisance pest in homes and businesses and then a few years later it becomes an important agricultural pest for neighboring growers. At this time of year in their native habitat, BMSB would normally look for shelter in south facing rocky outcroppings and other protected areas. The perfect surrogate turns out to be south-facing walls of man-made structures. It is important to note that BMSB do not bite humans or their pets – they are strictly plant-feeding insects. Also, they do not nest or reproduce in homes, they are simply finding a place to take shelter from the cold and will atempt to find their way out again when spring returns.

For information on how to prevent or get rid of this pest in your home, plus how to distinguish it from other common insects that are occasional home invaders, see this tip sheet from Michigan State University Extension: “The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB): Information for Michigan Residents on a New Home Invader.”

Who should report seeing BMSB?

If you or someone you know has seen this pest in or on the outside of your home or place of business, and you are outside of the area in which we now know it is well-established in Michigan (see map below), we want to hear from you! Go to the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network (MISIN) website or mobile app, register as a user (it’s free) and follow the instructions for submitting a report. A few minutes of your time can be incredibly helpful in officially cataloging and tracking this invasive pest.

The MISIN website and the app are free to use – you simply register and log in, verify you do indeed have BMSB (by either comparing the bug or bugs you see with the photo in this article, by looking at the Species Factsheet provided by MISIN for BMSB or downloading the new tip sheet on brown marmorated stink bugs for homeowners), and then report the sighting or sightings. Users can also submit up to two images with every report if they are uncertain as to whether what they are seeing is BMSB. By reporting sightings of this pest, you will be helping growers in your area prepare for this pest by identifying potential new hotspots.

If you have trouble registering with MISIN and would like to report a sighting, email Julianna Wilson at jkwilson@msu.edu with your nameaddress (or nearest crossroads), the date you saw them and how many you have seen. Again, if you have already reported from a particular address or live within the area where we know BMSB is well-established (see map below), we do not need to hear from you. Thank you!

BMSB 2017 Map

View larger image. As of September 2017, more than 12,000 reports have been submitted to MISIN from all but five Michigan counties. From these reports, we know BMSB is well-established in counties colored in red (darkest color), and we do not need any more reports if you see BMSB in these areas. Outside of the counties in red, we are interested in hearing where BMSB is being found. Reports should be submitted through the MISIN website.

Where to find more information about BMSB

 

*Original Article Published HERE.

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USDA Warns About Asian Longhorned Beetle

USDA warns about invasive Asian Longhorned Beetle

The US Department of Agriculture is asking residents along the Great Lakes corridor and beyond to watch out for an invader- the Asian Longhorned Beetle.

 

 

 

The bug is definitely creepy. It has long antennas with white stripes.  And a black glossy exterior with asymmetrical white spots. It can fly, but it doesn’t like to, said Andrea Locke the coordinator for WNY Prism, the organization was hosting the invasive clean up.

“This particular bug, it’s impressive. It’s a large bug. It’s about an inch to an inch and a half in size if folks see it they’re going to notice. It’s just a matter of connecting that noticing the bug and understanding that this is something that people need to report,” Locke said.

Essentially, the insect eats the tree from inside out. It burrows deep inside and lays eggs. The larva grows into an adult. It emerges leaving an exit hole. Its damage trees can’t usually recover from.

But, what does the damage look like?

You might see dime sized holes in the trunk or branches. Sometimes you’ll see tunneling marks. There’ll also be a sawdust like material on the ground.

“The Asian Longhorned Beetle is one of the most destructive forest pests that could have entered the United States,” said Rhonda Santos of the USDA.

The organization is trying to eliminate the bug. They inspect and remove infested trees. They also set up quarantine areas.  So far, the bug has led to the loss of more than 160,000 trees across the nation.

It was first detected in the US, in 1996. Experts believe it came from wooden packing material, used in cargo shipments from China.

“When we find an Asian Longhorned Beetle infestation it usually takes at least 10 years to be able to eliminate the beetle from that area. That goes back to finding every infested tree, removing it and, continuing to search the remaining trees, to make sure the beetle is not there,” she said.

The bug was eliminated from areas in Illinois and New Jersey. There are still active infestations in Ohio, Massachusetts, New York and Canada. This summer, the quarantine in southwest Ohio was expanded. Santos says they were proactively searching about a mile outside the zone and found a bug.

“There’s a concern that this insect can be where we don’t know it to be already. And certainly for the Great Lakes region, where you have so many trees,” Santos said. “Particularly, in the northern border of the US, those trees go right into Canada and because we have so many trees, that’s a greater risk that this pest could go after those trees in that area.”

Report findings at https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/home/

http://asian-longhorned-beetle.com/

 

Original article published on Great Lakes Echo.

Gypsy Moth Attacking Michigan Trees…Again

Ugh, they’re back! Or maybe it’s more accurate to say they never left.

Gypsy moth has been a pest to Michigan trees for decades, ever since it was introduced to the state in 1954. While the invasive pest has never been eliminated, some years seem to be worse than others? This year seems to be particularly bad. Why? One word: drought.

Read the below article by Michigan State University Extension to find out how drought can cause booms in gypsy moth populations.

 

Gypsy moth caterpillars once again attacking trees in Michigan

Large numbers of gypsy moth caterpillars strip trees in Mid-Michigan as drought hampers fungal controls.

Barrier band for gypsy moth larva control. Photo by Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources - Forestry, Bugwood.org.

Barrier band for gypsy moth larva control. Photo by Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources – Forestry, Bugwood.org.

 

They are back! A Clinton County resident contacted the Michigan State University Extension Lawn and Garden Hotline to report heavy caterpillar feeding in maples, pines and apple trees. A few trees had lost much of their foliage. A photo of the caterpillars confirmed it is gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar. For Michigan residents that have dealt with gypsy moths in the past, it is an unwelcome sight but one that is not unexpected.

Twenty to 30 years ago, gypsy moth was a plague across Michigan, defoliating thousands of acres of trees each year. Without many natural controls, it wreaked havoc on oaks, pines, maples, birches, apples and many other species. In 1989, a fungal pathogen was found killing off large populations of gypsy moth caterpillars in Northeastern states. This fungus was identified as Entomophaga maimaiga, a natural biological control of gypsy moth in Japan.

Brought to Michigan in 1991, E. maimaiga quickly became a key factor in suppressing gypsy moth across the state. Naturally occurring in soils, it spreads to young caterpillars as they move from tree to tree. Caterpillars begin to die as the fungus grows inside them. The spores from these dying and dead caterpillars spreads by wind infecting other caterpillars. As the season progresses, large infected gypsy moth caterpillars are found dying on tree trunks. Dead caterpillars remain attached to trunks and branches, hanging straight down. E. maimaiga is so effective that areas of the state often go for years without any noticeable damage from this ferocious defoliator.

So why are gypsy moths back in large numbers and feeding on trees? Drought! The fungus cannot effectively reproduce during times of drought. A year ago much of Michigan was in a serious drought from spring to early summer.  This is the time the fungus is dependent on moisture for its development and of course it is also the time gypsy moth caterpillars begin to feed on trees. Callers to the MSU Extension state hotline in 2016 confirmed that more caterpillars were feeding on trees across southern Michigan. Without consistent moisture in the spring, more gypsy moth caterpillars survived into the moth stage to produce larger numbers of egg masses. It was not unexpected to see growing populations of gypsy moth caterpillars this year.

gypsy moth larva

Gypsy moth caterpillar. Photo by Bill McNee, Wisconsin Dept of Natural Resources, Bugwood.org.

 

Drought is the weak link for the Entomophaga maimaiga fungus and in years when this occurs gypsy moth populations begin to grow and impact landscapes and forests. Spring droughts in 2007 and 2012 led to higher population of gypsy moth the following years. The good news is that in most years we do have adequate rainfall in the spring. Many areas in southern and mid-Michigan had consistent rain this past May, allowing for good development of the fungal pathogen.

Inspect plants now for gypsy moth caterpillars and damage. Trees that lose a large percentage of leaves to gypsy moth feeding can become stressed as energy reserves are used to produce a second set of leaves. Conifers may be permanently damaged if totally defoliated, especially pines. Valuable pines and hardwoods in the landscape can be sprayed with insecticides labeled for caterpillars, or trunks of trees can be banded with a sticky material to trap caterpillars as they crawl up and down trees. This may help on individual trees that are out in the open but may have little effect on trees in the woods where insects can move between adjacent trees.

If valuable trees are infested, you can contact an arborist to spray for the caterpillars. You could also choose to let nature take its course.  In my conversation with the gentleman from Clinton County, we discussed how wet conditions in most of mid to southern Michigan this spring should lead to development of the fungus E. maimaiga. He observed that he was already seeing dead caterpillars hanging straight down, which is a symptom of the effect of the fungus on gypsy moth caterpillars. These dead caterpillars infested with E. maimaiga now become the future source of the fungus in this area protecting trees for years to come.

Michigan is a large state with different weather patterns. While one area is in a drought, another site can be experiencing heavy rains. Awareness of where spring drought occurs can provide an early indicator for possible gypsy moth outbreaks. Nature provides many clues if we pay attention.

Firewood Awareness Month. Why do we need one?

Fall is here! That means that many will be travelling, looking for that perfect fall foliage that makes the covers of calendars everywhere. And there’s nothing wrong with that.  Michigan welcomes all who want to take a gander at her magnificent fall colors. We just ask that you do one thing.

Leave the wood at home.

This goes for everyone, both in-state and out-of-state travelers. It might seem harsh, or that it’s just another excuse to sell firewood, but there’s a good reason for it. Insects can hitch a ride in firewood, either as eggs, larvae, or even as adults depending on the time of year. Right now, a lot of insects are laying eggs that will overwinter and hatch next spring. By bringing your own firewood you may be unknowingly moving forest pests hundreds of miles to cause new devastation next year.

If we have learned anything from the destruction of the Emerald Ash Borer it is that prevention is key. We do not want a repeat of this kind of damage. So it becomes all of our responsibility to be part of the solution, instead of the problem.

By purchasing firewood where you intend to burn it, or even gathering it on site if it’s permitted, is one of the easiest things you can do to help stop the spread of unwanted insects and disease.

That is why this year, for the first time, the nature Conservancy’s Don’t Move Firewood program is teaming up with the U.S. Department of Agriculture – Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS) Hungry Pests initiative for Firewood Awareness Month. Learn more in the article below.

We all need to do our part to protect our trees.

 

As the Weather Cools, Your Firewood Choices Matter

Don't Move Firewood pests graphic

Wood boring insect pests can continue their development deep within cut wood. They can emerge from wood left to sit outside to infest new areas.

 

This October, the Nature Conservancy’s Don’t Move Firewood campaign and Hungry Pests, an initiative from APHIS, are partnering to present the first-ever Firewood Awareness Month. The cooler nights and quickly approaching fall season brings an increase in RV camping, hunting, and home heating. Firewood Awareness Month looks to raise public awareness about the potential danger of firewood movement as a pest and disease pathway at this high-risk time of year.

Tree-killing invasive insects and diseases can lurk both inside, and on the surface, of firewood. While these insects and diseases don’t travel far on their own, transporting firewood allows them to move hundreds of miles and start infestations in new places, explains APHIS Deputy Administrator Osama El-Lissy.

Pest infestations can impact our forests by killing trees there as well as in our parks and communities. Infestations are also costly to control or eradicate.

Everyone’s firewood choices matter, says Leigh Greenwood, The Nature Conservancy’s Don’t Move Firewood campaign manager. When it comes to protecting our campsites, wildlife habitats, neighborhood trees, and other favorite places, we all have a personal responsibility to slow the spread of forest pests. Firewood Awareness Month serves as the perfect opportunity to inform the public on the different ways they can help protect the places they love.

Firewood in bags

Firewood that has been heat treated is often sold bagged, boxed, or wrapped. Look for a state or federal seal to certify it was properly treated. Photo credit: L. Greenwood, Don’t Move Firewood campaign, The Nature Conservancy

 

This Firewood Awareness Month, everyone can help protect the places they love from the spread of damaging forest pests by making one of these three safe firewood choices:

  1. Buy firewood near where you’ll burn it
  2. Buy certified heat treated firewood (look for a state or federal seal)
  3. Gather firewood on site when permitted

Anyone who will travel from one location to another, including campers, anglers, hunters, and RV owners, should not carry firewood—unless it is heat-treated and certified—to their destination. This can spread forest pests and may also violate state and federal laws, depending on the region. Plan to gather firewood on site if permitted or purchase firewood near your camping destination.

People who use wood to heat their homes or cabins can help by harvesting firewood locally or by purchasing firewood from a reputable dealer who is in compliance with state or regional firewood regulations. Some operations may be unaware of quarantine and movement restrictions, resulting in the unintentional and illegal movement of tree-killing pests.

Tourists, too, can help protect the places they love against the spread of pests. As thousands of “leaf peeping” fall foliage enthusiasts travel to view the changing leaves around the country, they should purchase firewood locally, buy certified heat treated firewood, or gather on site if allowed.

Get state specific firewood regulations and recommendations at Dontmovefirewood.org/map. Visit www.DontMoveFirewood.org or www.HungryPests.com to learn how to help stop the spread of invasive pests and report signs of them to the proper authorities, and use #firewoodmonth to join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

Firewood

When buying firewood for home heating, use a reputable dealer in compliance with local regulations. Photo credit: L. Greenwood, Don’t Move Firewood campaign, The Nature Conservancy

Hope for the Ash Tree

Experts thought the ash tree was doomed. With the introduction of one tiny insect in 2002, its demise seemed inevitable. The Emerald Ash Borer specifically targets ash trees for their hosts. They lay their eggs under the bark and the larvae wreak havoc, chewing up the tree from the inside, before they emerge as adults and cause destruction to the leaves as they feed and reproduce, starting the cycle all over again.

In the wake of Dutch Elm Disease, many Michigan communities planted mostly ash to replace the dead elm trees, setting the stage. By planting mostly one species, many communities lost nearly all their trees once the beetle reached them. The insect simply flew from one tree to the next, spreading like wildfire. Any tree that was planted or naturally grew in infested areas was almost always attacked once it reached a decent size.

It seemed like a losing battle.

Yet, there may still be hope of having ash trees around.

Hope for ash

An adult ash borer within the wood tissue. Image: Gerald Wheeler

Ash borer leaves a destructive trail through wood tissue. Image: Gerald Wheeler

By Colleen Otte

Experts used to say the number of ash trees lost in Michigan was tens of millions.

Now they say hundreds of millions, according to Deb McCullough, a professor in Michigan State University’s entomology and forestry departments. Still, there’s hope for the ash’s survival.

“In a nutshell, what I found is that [ash] seems to be holding on quite well,” said Dan Kashian, who studies ash tree regeneration.

The mortality varies among species, but now the devastation has become an international epidemic, McCullough said. While some patches are worse than others, it’s hard to find a lot of live ash trees in Lower Michigan and much of the eastern and central Upper Peninsula.

The culprit is the emerald ash borer, Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire, an exotic Asian beetle discovered in southeastern Michigan near Detroit in the summer of 2002. Adult beetles are metallic green and about 1/2-inch long. They hitched rides on ship and plane cargo originating from Asia and moving to Detroit.

“The longest history of the emerald ash borer in North America is right in the greater metro Detroit area,” McCullough said.

Kashian, an associate professor at Wayne State University, found himself in this prime location for assessing the plight of the ash.

“It’s been here longer than it’s been anywhere else, so it’s a good place to study what it’s going to look like, say, in Traverse City in 15 years or 10 years or something,” he said.

The three main ash species in Michigan are green, white and black ash. They grow in very different places, according to Kashian: black ash in swamps, green ash near rivers and white ash in the uplands.

The front of an merald ash borer head. Image: S. Ellis

Kashian is studying how the different species respond to the ash borer. So far, his team has only set up seed traps and other regeneration trackers in 17 pockets in southeastern Michigan that are almost entirely green ash.

For five years, the study quantified how many seeds fell and how many new seedlings took root.

“It looks awful because the big trees are all being killed, and in terms of it ever looking like it did before the emerald ash borer came through, it’s probably never going to happen,” Kashian said. “But the species does not – at least based on what I’ve seen – look like it’s going to disappear, which is what a lot of people were predicting.”

MSU and other leading agricultural researchers, as well as government and non-profit institutions, have created and now support the Emerald Ash Borer Information Network, a multinational effort to share the latest information about the emerald ash borer as it spreads.

The network reports that the insect is established in Windsor, Ontario, was found in Ohio in 2003, northern Indiana in 2004, northern Illinois and Maryland in 2006, western Pennsylvania and West Virginia in 2007, Wisconsin, Missouri and Virginia in the summer of 2008, Minnesota, New York, Kentucky in the spring of 2009, Iowa in the spring of 2010, Tennessee in the summer of 2010, Connecticut, Kansas, and Massachusetts in the summer of 2012, New Hampshire in the spring of 2013, North Carolina and Georgia in the summer of 2013, Colorado in the fall of 2013, New Jersey in the spring of 2014, Arkansas in the summer of 2014, Louisiana in the winter of 2015.

“We will never see emerald ash borer densities at the same level that they were originally, because the carrying capacity of those systems has dropped hugely,” McCullough said. “When the big trees die, you’re not churning out nearly as many beetles, so the populations of the ash borer are going to remain lower for the foreseeable future. Whether they will stay low enough to give some of those young trees a chance to mature, we’ll have to see.”

Kashian said he wouldn’t go as far as to say the ash and the borer have reached an equilibrium.

“But we seem to be approaching some kind of balance with the bug at this population level and the trees hanging on,” he said.

The prevailing story of other studies is that the borer will eliminate ash in Michigan as it spreads. That’s because the studies were done in mixed forests where green ash were dying and different trees grew into the space, said Kashian.

In the pure stands of ash that Kashian studied, the dying green ash only made way for new ash seedlings.

“It’s very dependent on how much ash is there,” he said. “I think the more ash that’s there, the more likely it is to survive. A lot of people think intuitively the opposite – the conventional wisdom is that if it’s a pure stand, the bugs will just go crazy and kill everything.”

In northern Michigan, big stands of white ash are a concern. Though Kashian’s team hasn’t studied white ash yet, he suspects a similar phenomenon in which the trees growing in mixed forests won’t fare as well as those in pure stands.

A parasitic wasp injects its egg in the egg of an emerald ash borer where it will hatch, grow and kill the host egg. Image: Jian Duan

While it’s still early to tell, Kashian said there is some indication that where parasitic wasps were released to control the ashborers, larger ashes survived and more of them regenerated.

It might not be ideal to release a nonnative species, he said, but if we want to maintain nice, big ash trees, it’s something we need to do.

“The most well-funded programs aren’t even talking about stopping the emerald ash borer, they’re talking about slowing it,” Kashian said. “Whether or not (bio control) is cheap is kind of a moot point because there’s not really any other choice.”

For the eight-plus billion ash trees in the forest in the U.S., it’s hard to justify treating with an insecticide, McCullough said.

“It’s just not economically or environmentally appropriate,” she said. “That means you have to look for other options, and right now we don’t have much else other than bio control.”

The Emerald Ash Borer Biological Control Production Facility in Brighton, Michigan, rears Asian wasps that fight the borer.

“We work with the federal entities and the state entities to identify infested sites within each individual state,” said Ben Slager, the manager of the lab facility.

The borer has been identified in 27 states, and the lab has three more to distribute to: Georgia, Texas and Nebraska, Slager said. The tiny, wasp-like parasitoids were first released in Michigan in 2007, and have been released in all eight of the Great Lakes states.

“One of the goals for our agency is to get parasitoids into every infested county,” he said. “Last year, (the lab) put out 1.2 million, the year before that it was 750,000 and we’ve been steadily increasing through the years.”

The Bio Control Production Facility releases three different species of the wasps and is in the process of introducing a fourth. Its production of the fourth species has been ongoing since last fall, Slager said, but while they are doing scheduled releases this season, it’s only on a limited basis since they are still getting their rearing methods and procedures down.

The benefit of the new species is that it can lay eggs in trees with thicker bark because it has a longer ovipositor.

What to Do With Gypsy Moths?

Gypsy moths have been a plague in Michigan for a long time now and likely will be for years to come. That’s the problem with invasive exotic pests, once they’re established in an area they are difficult if not impossible to remove. While we have past the point to prevent a hatch of new ones this year (that happens in May), there are things you can do to control them.

The article below was one I wrote in 2014 for our annual newsletter. It lists several resources that may prove useful if you find yourself battling voracious gypsy moth caterpillars this summer.

 

Gypsy Moth: A New Look at an Old Enemy

By: Jennifer Hunnell, Michigan Arbor Day Alliance

Invasive species have been making news headlines across the country. People want to know what they are, where they are, if they pose a threat to their community, and what they can do about them if they find one.

The new ones are what usually capture everyone’s attention; Asian Carp, Asian Long-Horned Beetle, and Giant Hogweed just to name a few. Emerald Ash Borer makes this list as well. While not exactly new, the fight continues as the Emerald Ash Borer is still spreading into the western states. However, we can’t forget about the invaders that are already established, ones that may have fallen off our collective radar because they have been around so long they have become commonplace. The fact remains they’re still invasive, they’re still a problem, and we need to stay proactive about doing our part to control them.

Gypsy moth is a good example. This Eurasian moth has been a long-standing problem in Michigan. They were introduced to the United States in Massachusetts in 1869 and made it to Michigan by 1954. Since female moths don’t fly, their spread across the country has been largely attributed to human transportation of eggs or caterpillars. And while there are several natural factors for population control, including diseases, parasites, and predators, we still get the occasional population boom where they seem to be everywhere. The caterpillars have a voracious appetite and can infest a wide range of broad-leaf trees, but favors oak and aspen. Defoliation by the caterpillars can cause extensive damage and even death of the infested tree if it is old or weakened by disease or stress.

And while eradication of the gypsy moth is a dream of the past, there are some things you can do to control them on your own property.

  • Properly Water and Fertilize – This is your first line of defense. Keeping an eye on your trees and shrubs, making sure they are healthy, will reduce the pests attracted to them and reduce the amount of damage done if they are attacked.
  • Sanitation – Keep your yard as clean as possible. Remove dead branches, stumps, etc. where the adult moths may lay egg masses. Watch out for eggs transported on firewood or recreational vehicles (boats, trailers, RV’s, etc.)
  • Destroy Egg Masses – Gypsy moth egg masses are around for nearly nine months (August – May). Seeking out and destroying egg masses each year will reduce populations.
  • Tree Barriers – Various bands around tree trunks can help prevent caterpillar movement into and out of the tree canopy. Some act as traps (sticky), some as deterrents (slippery). Cloth hiding bands can also be made. These bands serve as hiding places for the caterpillars during the day so you can easily find them.

For more information about gypsy moths or other invasive species, check out these resources:

The Battle Against the Emerald Ash Borer Continues

The devastation caused by the Emerald Ash Borer is nothing new in Michigan. This state was, after all, at the center of the infestation. When the beetle first arrived it basically encountered an entire population of trees helpless to defend themselves, not having encountered the insect before. And thanks to various diseases that had previously swept through the state (like Dutch Elm Disease), we had created nice monocultures of ash trees in nearly every major community. These things combined equaled one thing – unchecked mass die-offs of trees, an EAB smorgasbord if you will.

The beetle, native to much of Asia, has caused the death of millions of ash trees along the east coast and in the midwest and continues to spread westward. Just last fall it was discovered in Colorado for the first time, hundreds of miles from its last known location. And while control measures may not make much of an impact here in Michigan, where Emerald Ash Borers infest nearly every county, research continues to be done in order to slow down the spread.

EABadultsideview

The Lansing State Journal recently published a well-written article which chronicles how the invasive species arrived in the United States, how it went so long undetected, how it spreads, and what measures are being taken to combat it. There is also a useful video created by one of their journalists that sums up things very nicely.

Check out the article here:

http://www.lansingstatejournal.com/interactive/article/20140727/NEWS01/307270001/Battle-ash-borer-Decades-after-beetles-arrived-Michigan-researchers-looking-slow-devastation?nclick_check=1