Did you miss the live broadcasts of UMass Extension’s Invasive Insect Webinar Series? No problem! View the archived recordings of all seven webinars here:https://ag.umass.edu/landscape/education-events/invasive-insect-webinars
Did you miss my recent webinar with Urban Forestry Today and Dr. Rick Harper? No problem! View the archived recording of this webinar, along with many others, here: http://www.urbanforestrytoday.org/webcast-archives.html
Interested in learning more about insect identification and life cycles? Only have 3 minutes or less? Check out InsectXaminer! https://ag.umass.edu/landscape/education-events/insectxaminer
Insects and Other Arthropods of Public Health Concern:
For current information, including searchable risk maps for both EEE and WNV in Massachusetts, visit:https://www.mass.gov/info-details/massachusetts-arbovirus-update
According to the Massachusetts Bureau of Infectious Disease and Laboratory Science and the Department of Public Health, there are at least 51 different species of mosquito found in Massachusetts. Mosquitoes belong to the Order Diptera (true flies) and the Family Culicidae (mosquitoes). As such, they undergo complete metamorphosis, and possess four major life stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Adult mosquitoes are the only stage that flies and many female mosquitoes only live for 2 weeks (although the life cycle and timing will depend upon the species). Only female mosquitoes bite to take a blood meal, and this is so they can make eggs. Mosquitoes need water to lay their eggs in, so they are often found in wet or damp locations and around plants. Different species prefer different habitats. It is possible to be bitten by a mosquito at any time of the day, and again timing depends upon the species. Many are particularly active from just before dusk, through the night, and until dawn. Mosquito bites are not only itchy and annoying, but they can be associated with greater health risks. Certain mosquitoes vector pathogens that cause diseases such as West Nile virus (WNV) and eastern equine encephalitis (EEE).
For more information about mosquitoes in Massachusetts, visit: https://www.mass.gov/service-details/mosquitoes-in-massachusetts
There are ways to protect yourself against mosquitoes, including wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants, keeping mosquitoes outside by using tight-fitting window and door screens, and using insect repellents as directed. Products containing the active ingredients DEET, permethrin, IR3535, picaridin, and oil of lemon eucalyptus provide protection against mosquitoes.
For more information about mosquito repellents, visit: https://www.mass.gov/service-details/mosquitoes-in-massachusetts and https://www.cdc.gov/features/stopmosquitoes .
The next live webinar will be held on October 14, 2020 - Tick-borne Disease Surveillance in the US- Speaker: Dr. Ben Beard, Deputy Director, Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Dr. Rich welcomes Dr. Ben Beard to the TickTalk webinar. Dr. Beard will present the latest CDC findings on the burdens of tick-borne disease and public health trends. To register for the next TickTalk, visit:https://ag.umass.edu/landscape/education-events/ticktalk-with-tickreport-webinars
From October until roughly May, as long as daytime temperatures remain above freezing, adult male and female deer ticks (Ixodes scapularis) can be active, even in the winter. It is important to protect yourself against ticks and be especially vigilant for tiny, difficult to see nymphs. For images of all deer tick life stages, along with an outline of the diseases they carry, visit: http://www.tickencounter.org/tick_identification/deer_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: http://www.tickencounter.org/prevention/protect_yourself .
Have you just removed an attached tick from yourself or a loved one with a pair of tweezers? If so, consider sending the tick to the UMass Laboratory of Medical Zoology to be tested for disease causing pathogens. To submit a tick to be tested, visit: https://www.tickreport.com/ and click on the blue “Order a TickReport” button. Results are typically available within 3 business days, or less. By the time you make an appointment with your physician following the tick attachment, you may have the results back from TickReport to bring to your physician to aid in a conversation about risk.
The UMass Laboratory of Medical Zoology does not give medical advice, nor are the results of their tests diagnostic of human disease. Transmission of a pathogen from the tick to you is dependent upon how long the tick had been feeding, and each pathogen has its own transmission time. TickReport is an excellent measure of exposure risk for the tick (or ticks) that you send in to be tested. Feel free to print out and share your TickReport with your healthcare provider.
- Wasps/Hornets: As frost arrives, annual wasp and hornet nests will cease in their activity and only fertilized females will overwinter in sheltered places.
Woody ornamental insect and non-insect arthropod pests to consider, a selected few:
- Spotted Lanternfly: (Lycorma delicatula, SLF) is not known to be established in Massachusetts landscapes at this time. However, due to the great ability of this insect to hitchhike using human-aided movement, it is important that we remain vigilant in Massachusetts and report any suspicious findings. Spotted lanternfly reports can be sent here:https://massnrc.org/pests/slfreport.aspx
On September 25, 2020 the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) urged Massachusetts residents to report signs of the invasive spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula). They announced the finding of two dead specimens of SLF in Massachusetts communities, and are urging residents to report any sign of the invasive pest. The specimens were recovered in the towns of Milford and Norwood, and were brought into Massachusetts on materials shipped from Pennsylvania counties currently under a spotted lanternfly quarantine. Additionally, according to the September 25, 2020 press release, MDAR was recently notified that nursery stock with spotted lanternfly egg masses and adults may have been unintentionally imported and planted in several parts of Massachusetts.
MDAR is urging anyone who has received goods or materials, such as plants, landscaping materials, or outdoor furniture, from a state with a known SLF infestation to carefully check the materials, including any packaging, for signs of spotted lanternfly. Currently, there are known introductions of SLF in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. For more information about this most recent press release, please visit:https://www.mass.gov/news/state-agricultural-officials-urge-residents-to-report-signs-of-invasive-spotted-lanternfly .
Because no live lanternflies have, as of this press release, been found in Massachusetts, there is currently no evidence that SLF has become established in the Commonwealth. As a precaution, MDAR has planned surveys in the areas where the insects were found, to confirm that no live populations are present. While a dead lanternfly was previously found in the Boston area, in December of 2018, repeated surveys have found no further signs of SLF in that part of the state.
For a map of known, established populations of SLF as well as detections outside of these areas where individual finds of spotted lanternfly have occurred (but no infestations are present), visit: https://nysipm.cornell.edu/environment/invasive-species-exotic-pests/spotted-lanternfly/ This map depicts an individual detection of spotted lanternfly at a private residence in Boston, MA that was reported by the MA Department of Agricultural Resources on February 21, 2019. More information about this detection in Boston, where no established infestation was found, is provided here: https://www.mass.gov/news/state-agricultural-officials-urge-residents-to-check-plants-for-spotted-lanternfly
This insect is a member of the Order Hemiptera (true bugs, cicadas, hoppers, aphids, and others) and the Family Fulgoridae, also known as planthoppers. The spotted lanternfly is a non-native species first detected in the United States in Berks County, Pennsylvania and confirmed on September 22, 2014.
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 feeding on over 103 species of plants, according to new research (Barringer and Ciafré, 2020) and when including not only plants on which the insect feeds, but those that it will lay egg masses on, this number rises to 172. This includes, but is not limited to, the following: tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima) (preferred host), apple (Malus spp.), plum, cherry, peach, apricot (Prunus spp.), grape (Vitis spp.), pine (Pinus spp.), pignut hickory (Carya glabra), Sassafras (Sassafras albidum), serviceberry (Amelanchier spp.), slippery elm (Ulmus rubra), tulip poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera), white ash (Fraxinus americana), willow (Salix spp.), American beech (Fagus grandifolia), American linden (Tilia americana), American sycamore (Platanus occidentalis), big-toothed aspen (Populus grandidentata), black birch (Betula lenta), black cherry (Prunus serotina), black gum (Nyssa sylvatica), black walnut (Juglans nigra), dogwood (Cornus spp.), Japanese snowbell (Styrax japonicus), maple (Acer spp.), oak (Quercus spp.), and paper birch (Betula papyrifera).
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 in some ways to gypsy moth egg masses.
Host plants, 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, visit this fact sheet: https://ag.umass.edu/landscape/fact-sheets/spotted-lanternfly .
- Asian Longhorned Beetle: (Anoplophora glabripennis, ALB) is a serious invasive insect that was first detected in Massachusetts in August of 2008. ALB was detected for the first time in South Carolina in 2020. Asian longhorned beetle eradication programs currently exist in Massachusetts, New York, and Ohio. A homeowner is responsible for finding, reporting, and making officials aware of the infestation in South Carolina. Great job!
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the Clemson University’s Department of Plant Industry (DPI) are inspecting trees in Hollywood, South Carolina following the detection and identification of the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB).
On May 29, a homeowner in Hollywood, South Carolina contacted DPI to report they found a dead beetle on their property and suspected it was ALB. A DPI employee collected the insect the same day and conducted a preliminary survey of the trees on the property. Clemson’s Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic provided an initial identification of ALB, and on June 4, APHIS’ National Identification Services confirmed the insect. On June 11, APHIS and DPI inspectors confirmed that one tree on the property is infested, and a second infested tree was found on an adjacent property. For more information, visit: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/newsroom/stakeholder-info/sa_by_date/sa-2020/sa-06/alb-sc . A recently released “Draft Environmental Assessment for the Asian Longhorned Beetle Eradication Program in Charleston, Dorchester, and Colleton Counties in South Carolina” from the USDA-APHIS provides a map of the currently known infested trees in that location. For more information, visit:https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/newsroom/federal-register-posts/sa_by_date/sa-2020/alb-draft-ea .
This is a good reminder for us to remain vigilant, and report any suspicious beetles or damage to trees, especially maples. Asian longhorned beetle infests 12 genera of trees, however maples are preferred hosts.
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 .
More information can be found in the “Trouble Maker of the Month” section of July’s edition of Hort Notes:https://ag.umass.edu/landscape/newsletters/hort-notes/hort-notes-2020-vol-315
- Emerald Ash Borer: (Agrilus planipennis, EAB) As of September 18, 2020, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation has confirmed a total of at least 139 communities in Massachusetts that have known populations of emerald ash borer, 40 of which have been found in 2020. An updated map of these locations across the state may be found here:https://ag.umass.edu/fact-sheets/emerald-ash-borer .
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). Adult insects of this species will not be present at this time of year. Signs of an EAB infested tree may include (at this time) D-shaped exit holes in the bark (from adult emergence in previous years), “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. Positive identification of an EAB-infested tree may not be possible with these signs individually on their own.
For 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 here: http://massnrc.org/pests/pestreports.htm .
- Fall Home-Invading Insects: Various insects, such as ladybugs, boxelder bugs, seedbugs, and stink bugs will begin to seek overwintering shelters in warm places, such as homes, throughout the next couple of months. 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, now should be the time to repair torn window screens, repair gaps around windows and doors, and sure up any other gaps through which they might enter the home.
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 .
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 blue Order a TickReport button for more information.
Reported by Tawny Simisky, Extension Entomologist, UMass Extension Landscape, Nursery, & Urban Forestry Program