Wishing everyone a happy holiday season!
This is the last woody ornamental insects report for the Landscape Message for 2022! Thank you to those of you who read these messages, and we hope that this information has been useful to you again this year. The winter is a great time to reflect on the insect pest problems you encountered during the last growing season, monitor and detect and mechanically remove overwintering pest insect life stages on high value host plants, and plan for reduced risk management options starting in the spring of 2023 as necessary. It is also a great time to plan for pollinator gardens or think about plants that you might install in 2023 to support native insect diversity and natural enemies (naturally occurring insects which help regulate pest insect populations).
We hope you have a restful winter season enjoyed with family and friends!
Upcoming Invasive Insect Educational Opportunities!
UMass Extension’s FREE Invasive Insect Webinar Series has returned for 2023! Join us in January and February for some excellent presentations about invasive insects and a non-insect (nematode). Pesticide contact hours (for all New England states for equivalent categories) and association credits will be available for participants who watch the LIVE webinars on:
January 25, 2023:
Forest Pest Risk is Heating Up with Climate Change
Audrey Barker-Plotkin, Senior Scientist and Site & Research Manager, Harvard Forest
Spotted Lanternfly Updates for Massachusetts from MA Department of Agricultural Resources
Elizabeth Barnes, Forest Pest Outreach Coordinator, MA Department of Agricultural Resources
February 8, 2023:
Spotted Lanternfly Management in the Landscape
Brian Walsh, Extension Educator, Ornamentals, PennState Extension
Entomopathogens of Spotted Lanternfly, Biopesticides, & Scouting Egg Masses in Vineyards
Dr. Eric Clifton, Research Scientist, BioWorks
February 22, 2023:
Beech Leaf Disease: and the Newly Described Nematode That Causes It
Dr. Robert Marra, Associate Agricultural Scientist, Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station
Invasive Forest Insects in Massachusetts
Nicole Keleher, Director, MA Department of Conservation and Recreation, Forest Health Program
For more information and to register, visit: https://ag.umass.edu/landscape/education-events/invasive-insect-webinars
These webinars are part of a FREE series supported by the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program at the U.S. Department of Agriculture through grant 21SCBPMA1011. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the presenters and do not necessarily represent the official views of the USDA.
Insects and Other Arthropods
Mosquitoes: The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has reported (as of 11/29/2022) eight human cases of West Nile virus (WNV) in Massachusetts in 2022. As of 11/29/2022 there have been no human eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) cases. The MA Department of Public Health tests for WNV and EEE from June to October. Testing summaries for 2022 can be found here: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/massachusetts-arbovirus-update . With the onset of frost, mosquito encounters have greatly diminished.
Deer Tick/Blacklegged Tick: Just because the leaves have fallen, doesn’t mean tick exposure risk has. Deer tick adults and nymphs continue to be encountered in the fall, and adults may be encountered throughout the winter any time temperatures are above freezing. Continue to monitor yourself with regular tick-checks if working or playing in tick habitat.
Ixodes scapularis adults are active all winter and spring, as they typically are from October through May, and “quest” or search for hosts at any point when daytime temperatures are above freezing. Engorged females survive the winter and will lay 1,500+ eggs in the forest leaf litter beginning around Memorial Day (late May). Larvae are encountered in New England from roughly May through November, with peak risk reported in August. Nymphs are encountered from April through July with a peak risk reported in June in New England. Nymphs may also be encountered again in October and November. For images of all deer tick life stages, along with an outline of the diseases they carry, visit: https://web.uri.edu/tickencounter/species/blacklegged-tick/ .
Anyone working in the yard and garden should be aware that there is the potential to encounter deer ticks. The deer tick or blacklegged tick can transmit Lyme disease, human babesiosis, human anaplasmosis, and other diseases. Preventative activities, such as daily tick checks, wearing appropriate clothing, and permethrin treatments for clothing (according to label instructions) can aid in reducing the risk that a tick will become attached to your body. If a tick cannot attach and feed, it will not transmit disease. For more information about personal protective measures, visit: https://web.uri.edu/tickencounter/prevention/protect-yourself/
The Center for Agriculture, Food, and the Environment provides a list of potential tick identification and testing resources here: https://ag.umass.edu/resources/tick-testing-resources .
Woody ornamental insect and non-insect arthropod pests to consider, a selected few:
Invasive Insects & Other Organisms Update:
As of 11/29/2022, the only established populations of spotted lanternfly in Massachusetts are in Fitchburg, Shrewsbury, and Worcester, MA (Worcester County) and Springfield, MA (Hampden County). Therefore, there is no reason to be preemptively treating for this insect in other areas of Massachusetts. If you suspect you have found spotted lanternfly in additional locations, please report it immediately to MDAR here: https://massnrc.org/pests/slfreport.aspx . If you are living and working in the Fitchburg, Shrewsbury, Worcester, and Springfield areas, please be vigilant and continue to report anything suspicious.
For individuals living and working in areas of MA with established spotted lanternfly populations, UMass Extension and the MA Department of Agricultural Resources have created a *NEW* spotted lanternfly management fact sheet that is now available here: https://ag.umass.edu/landscape/fact-sheets/spotted-lanternfly-management . This resource may be helpful for anyone monitoring and potentially managing SLF in these areas next season.
For More Information:
From UMass Extension:
Check out the InsectXaminer Episode about spotted lanternfly adults and egg masses! Available here: https://ag.umass.edu/landscape/education-events/insectxaminer
Fact Sheet: https://ag.umass.edu/landscape/fact-sheets/spotted-lanternfly
Management Fact Sheet: https://ag.umass.edu/landscape/fact-sheets/spotted-lanternfly-management
Center for Agriculture, Food, and the Environment: https://ag.umass.edu/news-events/highlights/spotting-spotted-lanternfly
From the MA Department of Agricultural Resources:
Fact Sheet and Map of Locations in MA: https://massnrc.org/pests/pestFAQsheets/spottedlanternfly.html
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. Egg sites and exit holes can be viewed on maple trees or other ALB hosts, even in the winter.
The regulated area for Asian longhorned beetle is 110 square miles 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 .
Browntail Moth: Euproctis chrysorrhoea is an invasive insect originating from Europe and first detected in the US in Somerville, MA in 1897. Currently, browntail moth is limited to a small portion of eastern Massachusetts, particularly areas near the coast. Report suspected browntail moth life stages here: https://massnrc.org/pests/pestreports.htm . Due to a persistent outbreak of this insect in Maine since approximately 2016, it is a good idea for us to again familiarize ourselves with this pest.
Now is the time of year where professionals and homeowners can be on the lookout for browntail moth “winter webs”. These are the webs within which the caterpillars which hatched from eggs laid in 2022 will spend the winter, often at the very tips of host plant branches (ex. red oak or apple). For an excellent video of browntail moth winter webs and what to look for from the Maine Forest Service, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6VmwsXE3lg . Anyone who sees browntail moth winter webs in Massachusetts should report them to the link above.
Caution: hairs found on the caterpillar and pupal life stages of this insect can cause a rash similar to poison ivy. Some individuals are very sensitive to browntail moth hairs and may also experience allergic reaction. The chance of interacting with browntail moth hairs increases between May and July, although they could be a problem at any time of year.
Emerald Ash Borer: (Agrilus planipennis, EAB) has been detected in at least 11 out of the 14 counties in Massachusetts. A map of these locations across the state may be found here: https://ag.umass.edu/fact-sheets/emerald-ash-borer . Additional information about this insect is provided by the MA Department of Conservation and Recreation, here:https://arcg.is/j8TiD .
This wood-boring beetle readily attacks ash (Fraxinus spp.) including white, green, and black ash and has also been found developing in white fringe tree (Chionanthus virginicus) and has been reported in cultivated olive (Olea europaea). Signs of an EAB infested tree may include D-shaped exit holes in the bark (from adult emergence), “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 the bark, from larval feeding beneath. It is interesting to note that woodpeckers are capable of eating 30-95% of the emerald ash borer larvae found in a single tree (Murphy et al. 2018). Unfortunately, despite high predation rates, EAB populations continue to grow. However, there is hope that biological control efforts will eventually catch up with the emerald ash borer population and preserve some of our native ash tree species for the future. For an update about the progress of the biological control of emerald ash borer, visit Dr. Joseph Elkinton’s archived 2022 webinar available here: https://ag.umass.edu/landscape/education-events/invasive-insect-webinars .
Jumping Worms: Amynthas spp. earthworms, collectively referred to as “jumping or crazy or snake” worms, overwinter as eggs in tiny, mustard-seed sized cocoons found in the soil or other substrate (ex. compost) that are impossible to remove. Adult and juvenile jumping worms are killed with the frost and do not overwinter in New England.
For More Information:
UMass Extension Fact Sheets:
*NEW* Resource with Over 70 Questions and their Answers: Invasive Jumping Worm Frequently Asked Questions:
Earthworms in Massachusetts – History, Concerns, and Benefits: https://ag.umass.edu/landscape/fact-sheets/earthworms-in-massachusetts-history-concerns-benefits
Jumping/Crazy/Snake Worms – Amynthas spp.:
A Summary of the Information Shared at UMass Extension’s Jumping Worm Conference in January 2022:
Tree & Shrub Insect Pests, Continued:
- Fall Home-Invading Insects: Various insects, such as ladybugs, boxelder bugs, seedbugs, and stink bugs (including the invasive brown marmorated stink bug) will seek overwintering shelters in warm places, such as homes. While such invaders do not cause any structural damage, they can become a nuisance especially when they are present in large numbers. A vacuum with a bag that can be emptied is a handy way to dispose of any such unwanted invaders.
- Hemlock Woolly Adelgid: Adelges tsugae is present on eastern and Carolina hemlock. The overwintering hemlock woolly adelgid generation (sistens) is present through mid-spring and produces the spring generation (progrediens) which will be present from early spring through mid-summer. HWA, unlike many other insects, does most of its feeding over the winter. Eggs may be found in wooly masses at the base of hemlock needles beginning in mid-March. Each wooly mass is created by a female who may then lay 50-300 eggs. Eggs hatch and crawlers may be found from mid-March through mid-July. Infested trees may be treated with foliar sprays in late April to early May, using Japanese quince as a phenological indicator. Systemic applications may be made in the spring and fall, or when soil conditions are favorable for translocation to foliage. Nitrogen fertilizer applications may make hemlock woolly adelgid infestations worse.
Winter Moth: Operophtera brumata is a non-native insect that was identified in Massachusetts for the first time in 2003 following persistent reports of defoliation in eastern areas of the state such as Cape Anne and on the North Shore near Cohasset, Hingham, and Rockland on the South Shore in the late 1990’s. For more information about the life cycle and management of winter moth, please visit this fact sheet: Winter Moth Identification and Management . For more detailed information about the history of this insect pest in North America and Massachusetts, please visit this fact sheet: Winter Moth in Massachusetts: History and Biological Control .
Similar to both Bruce spanworm and fall cankerworm, winter moth adult males tend to emerge and are seen flying in mid to late November, typically right around Thanksgiving. Winter moth male flights may continue into January any time temperatures are above freezing. As with the other two native inchworm species, winter moth females are nearly wingless and do not fly. Males mate with females, who lay eggs on host tree bark, which overwinter and give rise to caterpillar populations in the early spring, just as host plant buds are beginning to open. The life cycle of winter moth is described in the identification and management fact sheet above and is similar to those of Bruce spanworm and fall cankerworm. A report of potential winter moth male flights has been seen in Taunton, MA in 2022. The Elkinton Lab also reports catching winter moth males in traps deployed along Rt. 2 as well as in Acton, MA and Lincoln, MA. They report capturing significant numbers of winter moth males, and expect caterpillars to be at pest levels on apple and blueberry in these areas in the spring of 2023. However, we hope that the biological control (Cyzenis albicans) will keep winter moth caterpillar populations below noticeable levels on ornamental trees and shrubs in 2023.
It is a good idea to plan to monitor for these springtime defoliating inchworm caterpillars next season, particularly in apple orchards and blueberry fields!
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 .
Reported by Tawny Simisky, Extension Entomologist, UMass Extension Landscape, Nursery, & Urban Forestry Program