Friday, August 12, 2011

Check trees for insect invaders

It's perfectly normal for trees to have a few insects munching on their leaves or burrowing into their bark. Usually they coexist naturally as part of the same ecosystem. Unfortunately, when insects are introduced into new areas, they don't always have natural predators or environmental conditions to keep populations balanced. That's why it's important to avoid bringing non-native tree pests into Ohio and to act quickly to control them if they're found.

To protect your woodlands and ornamental trees, watch for unusual insect infestations. Over the last few years, Ohio has seen increasing damage from non-native pests, including the following:

Gypsy Moth The gypsy moth caterpillar eats leaves of many species of trees and shrubs, but its favorite is oak. After a couple years of defoliation, even a healthy tree can be killed. Populations are already established in 43 Ohio counties.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture uses aerial spraying to suppress the pest in some wooded areas and also treats isolated populations in areas where the pest isn't yet established.

Emerald Ash Borer Most infestations have been traced to ash firewood or trees brought to Ohio from Michigan. Since Emerald Ash Borer infestations are fatal, infested trees must be destroyed to keep the pest from spreading. Although the EAB has not yet been found in Guernsey County, the ODA has recently quarantined the entire state of Ohio. We recommend that residents avoid movement of firewood and other wood products into and from the county to help slow the spread of this insect pest.

Beech Bark Disease This disease is caused by both beech scale insects and fungi that infect wounds left by the feeding insects. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry is watching beech trees in northeast Ohio closely for this problem because the scale insects have been found in a few counties and the disease is killing many trees in Michigan. Individual trees can be saved with insecticide, but widespread treatment of wooded areas isn't financially feasible.

For more information on these and other pests causing concern in Ohio, contact and
or our local OSU extension office.

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