Photo courtesy of USDA APHIS PPQ Archive, USDA APHIS PPQ;

Gypsy moth pressure eases in New Jersey

Good news from New Jersey: The state’s Department of Agriculture says that this year’s statewide gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar) aerial defoliation survey shows that damage from the pest’s caterpillars appears to be less than half of what it was last year. The damage is concentrated primarily in the state’s northern region, including Morris, Passaic, Bergen and Sussex counties.

Results of the survey indicate that 1,330 acres of trees in 24 municipalities in 11 counties were defoliated. In 2013, 2,887 acres of trees in 51 towns in 17 counties were affected.

“For the last five years, New Jersey has experienced very substantially less gypsy moth damage through a combination of favorable weather conditions, an army of beneficial insects and intense surveillance,” said Secretary of Agriculture Douglas Fisher.

Emerald ash borer encores in Minnesota

Making its way through the Midwest, emerald ash borer (EAB; Agrilus planipennis) has struck again in Minnesota, this time in the far southeastern part of the state near the town of Caledonia. A state Department of Natural Resources forester spotted more than 20 dead-or dying-trees in a grove located in a privately owned cattle pasture. The number of trees affected indicated that the infestation had been active for several years. Confirmation was made from photos of EAB’s distinctive tunneling pattern.

Photos courtesy of Minnesota Department of Agriculture

The newly discovered infestation is located in an area already under official EAB quarantine, which includes Houston, Hennepin, Ramsey and Winona counties.

EAB also was confirmed in Muscatine, Iowa, in late July; Muscatine is near the Iowa- Illinois Quad Cities of Davenport, Bettendorf, Rock Island and Moline. This is the first confirmation in this area since EAB was identified in Rock Island in October 2013.

Seven counties in middle and east Tennessee also were added to the quarantine list last month; these include Clay, Fentress, Macon, Morgan, Overton, Pickett and Rhea. The state now has 34 counties under EAB quarantine.

Since its discovery near Detroit in 2002, emerald ash borer has wiped out millions of ash trees (Fraxinus) in North America.

Controlling azalea lace bug-some guidelines

Confirmed in the Pacific Northwest in 2008 (Washington) and 2009 (Oregon), azalea lace bug (Stephanitis pyrioides) has actually been around for a while. The native of Japan was first detected on the East Coast, in New Jersey, as far back 1915. It feeds on both deciduous and evergreen azaleas and rhododendrons and can infest Kalmia and Pieris as well, although the latter two species are not considered hosts. With their piercing-sucking mouthparts, they feed on the lower surfaces of foliage and remove chlorophyll, resulting in damage ranging from light yellow stippling to nearly white leaves, desiccation and defoliation.

Photo courtesy of Jim Baker, North Carolina State University;

There is hope, however, and it comes in the form of a publication issued by Oregon State University. “Azalea Lace Bug: Biology and management in commercial nurseries and landscapes,” by OSU associate professor and Extension entomologist Robin Rosetta, takes a comprehensive approach to identification, monitoring and control. It can be downloaded (for free!) at the following link: