Woody ornamental insect and non-insect arthropod pests to consider, a selected few:
- Emerald Ash Borer (EAB): *New County Detection* Agrilus planipennis (EAB) was recently detected for the first time in Hampshire County, Massachusetts. This marks a new county detection of this non-native wood-boring beetle. Suspect ash trees were reported at a location in South Hadley, MA and a second location on the border of Easthampton and Northampton, MA. These locations were visited by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation and the presence of infested ash trees was confirmed.
An additional detection was also recently made in Middlesex County in the community of Shirley, MA. This is a new town detection, but not a new county detection as emerald ash borer had previously been found in Newton, MA by monitoring the activities of a native wasp, Cerceris fumipennis, by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources. This non-stinging and ground-nesting wasp hunts jewel beetles, including the emerald ash borer, in such a way that an observer can collect and confirm what prey species are being utilized by the wasps. This method of detection is known as biosurveillance, or using one organism to detect the presence of another.
EAB readily attacks ash (Fraxinus spp.) including white, green, and black ash and has also been found developing in white fringe tree (Chionanthus virginicus) and most recently, cultivated olive (Olea europaea). (See: https://academic.oup.com/jee/article-lookup/doi/10.1093/jee/tox139) Signs of an EAB infested tree may include D-shaped exit holes in the bark, “blonding” or lighter coloration of the ash bark from woodpecker feeding (chipping away of the bark as they search for larvae beneath), and serpentine galleries visible through splits in/upon peeling the bark, from larval feeding beneath. Positive identification of an EAB-infested tree may not be possible with these signs individually on their own.
For a map of the known locations of emerald ash borer in the state, as well as further information about this insect, please visit: https://ag.umass.edu/fact-sheets/emerald-ash-borer. If you believe you have located EAB-infested ash trees, particularly in an area of Massachusetts not identified on the map provided, please report it at the Massachusetts Introduced Pests Outreach Project: http://massnrc.org/pests/pestreports.htm.
- Winter Moth: Operophtera brumata adult emergence has been reported around November 16, 2017 in Hanson, MA (see Southeast Region report) and November 17, 2017 in Boston, MA (see East Region report). A few male winter moths have been observed in flight over the past 7-10 days in Barnstable, MA (see Cape Cod Region report). Overall, it would appear that winter moth adult numbers are relatively low, as was seen in 2016. Dr. Elkinton’s lab also reports that the number of winter moth males caught in traps and winter moth females caught in tree bands remains low, especially when compared to past populations. That being said, winter moth adult activity will continue over the next 3-4 weeks, so more information will become available shortly.
Male winter moths have wings and are able to fly. They are light colored moths with a band of black marks extending across the tip of the wings. Adult female winter moths have greatly reduced wings (and are sometimes said to be wingless) and are incapable of flying. No management options are recommended or effective against the adult moth stage of this pest. For example, although some may attempt to apply bands of sticky material around trees they anticipate to be impacted by this insect, while they may capture some of the female winter moths as they crawl up the trunk to lay their eggs, this will not be 100% effective, as moths invariably make their way beyond the band. Adult winter moths do not feed. Females will lay the eggs that will hatch next spring.
- Asian Longhorned Beetle, Anoplophora glabripennis, (ALB): Look for signs of an ALB infestation which include perfectly round exit holes (about the size of a dime), shallow oval or round scars in the bark where a female has chewed an egg site, or sawdust-like frass (excrement) on the ground nearby host trees or caught in between branches. Be advised that other, native insects may create perfectly round exit holes or sawdust-like frass, which can be confused with signs of ALB activity.
The regulated area for Asian longhorned beetle is 110 miles2 encompassing Worcester, Shrewsbury, Boylston, West Boylston, and parts of Holden and Auburn. If you believe you have seen damage caused by this insect, such as exit holes or egg sites, on susceptible host trees like maple, please call the Asian Longhorned Beetle Eradication Program office in Worcester, MA at 508-852-8090 or toll free at 1-866-702-9938.
To report an Asian longhorned beetle find online or compare it to common insect look-alikes, visit: http://massnrc.org/pests/albreport.aspx or https://www.aphis.usda.gov/pests-diseases/alb/report.
- Fall Home-Invading Insects: Various insects, such as ladybugs, boxelder bugs, seed bugs, and stink bugs continue to seek overwintering shelters in warm places, such as homes. While such invaders do not cause any measurable structural damage, they can become a nuisance especially when they are present in large numbers. If you are not willing to share your home with such insects, continue to repair torn window screens, repair gaps around windows and doors, and sure up any other gaps through which they might enter the home. Brown marmorated stink bugs, Halyomorpha halys, are invasive insects that have been found in Massachusetts and can be among the offending home-invading species in the fall. For more information about the brown marmorated stink bug including how they may be distinguished from our native stinkbugs, visit https://www.massnrc.org/pests/pestFAQsheets/brownmarmoratedstinkbug.html.
- Gypsy Moth: Lymantria dispar is overwintering in the egg stage as is typical for this insect. Although the caterpillar killing fungus, Entomophaga maimaiga, was thankfully active in the summer of 2017, some caterpillars survived through pupation and into adulthood and were thus able to mate and lay eggs. The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) has released the following map of the 2017 defoliation across Massachusetts from gypsy moth, along with numbers of egg masses they counted at various locations across the state. The egg masses represented in their map are from a count of all masses visible on 10 trees (any species) from 1-acre plots. While we cannot accurately predict the population of gypsy moth for 2018, this map serves as a reminder that although the outlook is much better because of the impact of E. maimaiga, gypsy moth will not completely disappear from Massachusetts landscapes next year. You can view the MA DCR map here
- Spotted Lanternfly: *New U.S. Detections Made in November!* Lycorma delicatula is not known to occur in Massachusetts. This insect is a member of the Order Hemiptera (true bugs, cicadas, hoppers, aphids, and others) and the Family Fulgoridae, also known as planthoppers. This insect is a non-native species first detected in the United States in Berks County, Pennsylvania and confirmed on September 22, 2014. Until November, 2017, this invasive insect was only known to Pennsylvania. It has now been reported from Delaware (November 20, 2017) and New York (November 29, 2017). The Delaware Department of Agriculture announced the finding of a single female spotted lanternfly in New Castle County in the Wilmington, Delaware area. At this time, officials in Delaware note that it is unclear if this individual was an accidental hitchhiker, or evidence of an established population in the state. For more information about the find in Delaware, visit: https://news.delaware.gov/2017/11/20/spotted-lanternfly-confirmed-delaware/. The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets reported on November 29, 2017 the finding of a single dead individual spotted lanternfly in the state from earlier in the month. A single dead specimen was confirmed at a facility in Delaware County, New York, which is located south-west of Albany. The NYS Dept. of Agriculture and Markets states that this dead individual may have come in on an interstate shipment. For more information about the find in New York, visit: https://www.agriculture.ny.gov/AD/release.asp?ReleaseID=3637.
The spotted lanternfly is considered native to China, India, and Vietnam. It has been introduced as a non-native insect to South Korea and Japan, prior to its detection in the United States. In South Korea, it is considered invasive and a pest of grapes and peaches. The spotted lanternfly has been reported from over 70 species of plants, including the following: Tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima), apple (Malus spp.), plum, cherry, peach, apricot (Prunus spp.), grape (Vitis spp.), pine (Pinus spp.) and others.
The adults and immatures of this species damage host plants by feeding on sap from stems, leaves, and the trunks of trees. In the springtime in Pennsylvania (late April - mid-May) nymphs (immatures) are found on smaller plants and vines and new growth of trees and shrubs. Third and fourth instar nymphs migrate to the tree of heaven and are observed feeding on trunks and branches. Trees may be found with sap weeping from the wounds caused by the insect’s feeding. The sugary secretions (excrement) created by this insect may coat the host plant, later leading to the growth of sooty mold. Insects such as wasps, hornets, bees, and ants may also be attracted to the sugary waste created by the lanternflies, or sap weeping from open wounds in the host plant. Host plants have been described as giving off a fermented odor when this insect is present.
Adults are present by the middle of July in Pennsylvania and begin laying eggs by late September and continue laying eggs through late November and even early December in that state. Adults may be found on the trunks of trees such as the tree of heaven or other host plants growing in close proximity to them. Egg masses of this insect are gray in color and look similar to gypsy moth egg masses.
Tree of heaven, bricks, stone, lawn furniture, recreational vehicles, and other smooth surfaces can be inspected for egg masses. Egg masses laid on outdoor residential items such as those listed above may pose the greatest threat for spreading this insect via human aided movement.
For more information about the spotted lanternfly, look to the November 2017 issue of UMass Extension's Hort Notes under Trouble Makers: https://ag.umass.edu/landscape/newsletters/hort-notes/hort-notes-2017-vol-2810.
Concerned that you may have found an invasive insect or suspicious damage caused by one? Need to report a pest sighting? If so, please visit the Massachusetts Introduced Pests Outreach Project: http://massnrc.org/pests/pestreports.htm.
Pollinator Protection Resource Online: The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources has developed a Massachusetts Pollinator Protection Plan. It is a set of voluntary guidelines that discuss best management practices for stakeholders seeking to promote the health of the European honeybee and other pollinators. This document includes information for beekeepers, pesticide applicators, land managers and farmers, nurseries and landscapers, and homeowners and gardeners. Please locate the MA Pollinator Protection Plan for more information here: http://www.mass.gov/eea/docs/agr/farmproducts/apiary/pollinator-plan.pdf.
A note about Tick Awareness: deer ticks (Ixodes scapularis), the American dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis), and the lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum) are all found throughout Massachusetts. Each can carry their own complement of diseases. Anyone working in tick habitats (wood-line areas, forested areas, and landscaped areas with ground cover) should check themselves regularly for ticks while practicing preventative measures. Have a tick and need it tested? Visit the web page of the UMass Laboratory of Medical Zoology (https://www.tickreport.com/) and click on the red Test a Tick button for more information.
Report by Tawny Simisky, Extension Entomologist, UMass Extension Landscape, Nursery, & Urban Forestry Program