packing material, ash wood, computer network, New York State, Sirex Woodwosp, affected areas, host trees, loose bark, Steering Committee, Jeny Carison, quarantine, sirex woodwasp, wood-boring insects, New York, Jerry Carlson, ash borers, ash trees, Karin Verschoor, United Slates Department of Agriculture, tiny insect invaders, New YorX State Department of Environmental Conservation, New York Department of Agriculture and Markets, emerald ash borer
IN ET NYn I NI by Jerry Carlson and Karin Verschoor
Much as a virus or worm can infecl an entire computer network, tiny insect invaders are threatening to wreak havoc on New York's forests. Two wood-boring insects, the sirex woodwasp and the emerald ash borer
, have been spotted in or near New York State. Unwelcome visitors, both species are capable of quickly destroying an entire patch of forest As such, these insects are the focus of intensive research and monitoring by the United Slates Department of Agriculture
, the New York Department of Agriculture and Markets, and the New YorX State Department
of environmental conservation
A large, wood-boring wasp. the sirex woodwasp is a
devastating pes t of Pine trees
. It is native to ~:urope
flnd Asia, and has already
destroyed millions of pines in
Australia. South America
SouLh Africa. Believed to have
come into the U.S. in wooden'
packing material such as crates
or pallets. this woodwasp's first
known North America
rence was in Oswego County
in 2005. Since t.hen. it has been
Sirex Woodwosp (fe male) Adults: 2-1 " long. Thick bodied; no -Wasp" woist. Females:
found in Onondaga, Wayne, Seneca and Cayuga counties, and has just been detected in southern Canada.
solid block body wilh spear-like ovipositor Males: wide oronge band on abdomen
Sirex woodwasps are solitary black wasps with brownish wings and orange legs. Females lay their eggs in pine tree
trunks. where the eggs hatch into white, wood-boring
grubs. The grubs then tunnel through the tree, eventu-
ally emerging as adults through holes measuring 1/4
to 3/8 inch in dinmeLer. During the egg-laying process,
female'woodwasps also inject a toxin to weaken the
tree, and infect the tree with a rungus which softens and modifies the wood so the larva can feed on it. The toxin impairs the tree's natural ability to fight ofT the
An exomple of on infected tree fungal infection, and the portion of the tree above the injection site quickly dies.
Because of the danger that sirex woodwasps pose to New York's pines, D(!:C is asking the public to report any sigbtings of the insect or its damage. Away from its native Europe, these wasps have no natural enemies nnd so cou ld spread unchecked if not detected early enough. S igns of possible inrestation in pines include dying needles in the tree crown, or sudden
h'ee death for no obvious reason. If you suspect a tree may be infected. look on the tree trunk for exit holes. often mnrked by oozing resin. Woodwasp exit holes will be randomly scattered on the tree, in
contrast to regular rows of holes made
by sapsuckers. Also, keep an eye on any
t cut wood with tunnels throughout the wood. The presence of white larva with
a distinctive back spine or "horntail"
on the real' indicates a sirex woodwasp Deloil of the
i n f e s t a t ion.
chorocteristic back ' horntail' spine
Emerald Ash Borer
Na tive to Asia, the e merald ash borer is a s mall,
colorfu l wood-boring beetle tha t has already destroyed
millions of ash trees
in the U.S. 1t was first.
detected in Michigan
in 2002, and is now
cau s ing problems in
Ohio and Ontario,
Canada as well. Like
the s ircx woodwa sp,
Emerald Ash Borer Adults: 2' long Slender, goldengreen iridescent beetle with large compound eyes
the emerald ash borer is thought to have entered this country via shipping materiaL
WhiJe it has not yet
been spotted in New York. it poses a real threat to the
state's ash trees.
During summer, adult e mera ld ash borers emerge fro m small "D"-shaped holes in ash t ree trunks and begin eating the tree's leaves. They soon begin to disperse in search of additional food and sujtable mates, flying in short s purts of up to 50 feet. though sometimes traveling miles to find host trees
. Following mating. female e merald ash borers lay their eggs in the crevices on the trunks of ash trees. The larvae burrow under the bark and eat their way through the cambium (the live inner bark) leaving winding, "s"-shaped tunnels. These cause the trees to lose their ability to transport nutrients, and so they slowly starve.
To combat the s prea d of this pest, strict quarantines hnve bee n implemented in affected areas of Michigan ,. prohibiting the movement of any ash t rees, ash wood and a ll hardwood fil'cwood from a quarantine area. Unfortunately, in n violation of the quarantine, a nursery shi pped more than toO uninspected ash trees to Maryla nd . A year a fte r these t rees were planted, e merald ash borers were discovered in some of the trees. Maryland quickly set up a qua rantine and removed not only the suspect t rees, but a lso 1,000 potential host trees. Today, the infestation a ppears to have been stopped . but scientists will monitor the area for a t least three more years.
New York S tate's ash trees a re a waiting fea st for the e merald ash borer. In the past 20 years, hybrid ash have been widely planted a long streets and u sed in commerciallandscnping such as mall parking lots
. Since these trees are generally somewhat stressed and also perfectly s paced for easy beetle night from t ree to tree, thvy make pe rfect targets for the emerald ash
lIepr",'~ from lilt Nrl<' I'ark SI"lp ('onM'rvalionisl. April 2006
borers, who tend to attack city and su burba n trees. Affected ash first show dieback in the crown. and may have cracks in the bark overactive feeding tunnels. As the inner bark is destroyed, the tree dies back and may grow s pn)u ts from the middle or the base of the trunk . Ca lled epicor mic s prouting, this is a last-ditch effort for Sllrvival by a mortally stressed tree. .if you spot these sympt.oms, look closely at the t ree
Damage crea ted by an Emarald Ash Barer
trunk for cracked 01" loose bark and borer holes that a re characteristic of e merald ~sh borer activity. Dieback a nd epicorm ic s prouting alone could also be signs of "ash yellows." a disease that has been killing many ash trees in New York.
Jeny Carison is a member of the Steering Committee
fOl" the GoverrlOf" Inyasive Species Task Force, is a Research Scientist
with DEC's Fore$t Health Program. Kari n Verschoor WDfks in DECs Division of Lomb and Forests
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