Friday, July 20, 2012

Emerald Ash Borer Found in Prospect and Naugatuck, Connecticut

New Haven, CT – The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) today announced that the emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) was detected in Prospect, CT on July 16, 2012 by staff members at CAES.  The identification has been confirmed by federal regulatory officials in the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Plant Protection and Quarantine (USDA APHIS-PPQ).  This is the first record of this pest in Connecticut, which is added to 15 other states where infestations have been detected.  A new probable site of infestation is located in the Naugatuck State Forest.  The beetle identification is unconfirmed. The emerald ash borer is responsible for the death and decline of tens of millions of ash trees from the mid-west to New York State and south to Tennessee.  Ash makes up about 4% to 15% of Connecticut’s forests and is a common urban tree.

“The detection of the emerald ash borer (EAB) in Prospect and probably in Naugatuck reaffirms that statewide surveys for this pest were necessary,” said Louis A. Magnarelli, director of CAES.  “We expected to find the beetle in areas of Connecticut across from infestations in Dutchess County, New York; however, the EAB has great flight potential and can travel in infested wood moved by people.  This pest attacks all species of ash trees.  Our immediate goals are to determine how extensive the Connecticut infestation is, notify residents in the Prospect and Naugatuck area, and implement strategies to slow the spread of the insect.”

The insect specimens were recovered in Prospect from a ground-nesting, native wasp (Cerceris fumipennis), which hunts beetles in the family Buprestidae, including the emerald ash borer.  The developing wasp larvae feed on the beetles provided by the adult wasp.  The wasp provides a highly efficient and effective “bio-surveillance” survey tool and does not sting people or pets.  This work was supported by the US Forest Service.  In addition, 541 purple prism detection traps, containing a special chemical lure, have been set across the state in all eight counties by The University of Connecticut Cooperative Extension System via an agreement with the USDA APHIS PPQ. Three additional EAB have been captured in a trap located in Prospect, while other beetles were captured in a trap in Naugatuck. 

“This is a disturbing discovery and one that has the potential for great environmental harm in the state,” said DEEP Commissioner Daniel C. Esty.  “Connecticut has more than 22 million ash trees.  The presence of EAB here could have a devastating effect on the beauty of our forests, state and local parks and neighborhoods, as well as the state’s wood product industries.  Now that EAB has been detected here, it is more important than ever to limit its spread.  It is imperative that residents and visitors throughout the state not move firewood.  The movement of firewood that contains the presence of EAB is the quickest way to rapidly spread the insect.  We will continue to work closely with the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station and other state and local agencies to do everything in our power to minimize the presence of EAB in Connecticut.”

The EAB is a small and destructive beetle, metallic green in color, and approximately 1/2 inch long and 1/8 inch wide.  Adults emerge from the bark of infested trees leaving a small “D”-shaped exit hole roughly 1/8 inch in diameter.  This insect is native to Asia and was first discovered in the Detroit, MI and Windsor, Ontario regions of North America in 2002.  It has since spread through the movement of firewood, solid-wood packing materials, infested ash trees, and by natural flight dispersal.

It is unknown how the EAB entered Prospect or Naugatuck.  Movement of infested firewood is a high risk activity that can spread the beetle over long distances.  Prior to the pest’s discovery in Prospect, the closest known infestation to Connecticut is in eastern New York near the Hudson River.

The emerald ash borer is a regulated plant pest under federal (7 CFR 301.53) and state (CT Gen. Statute Sec. 22-84-5d, e, and f) regulations.  For more information about the EAB, please visit the following website:

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Pest Management for Organic Production Systems

On July 26 at 1 p.m. Eastern Time, a webinar entitled “Pest Management for Organic Production Systems II” will be broadcast by the National Center for Appropriate Technology.  It will discuss ecologically friendly practices that support organic pest management, including trap cropping, perimeter trap cropping, crop rotations, pheromone use, and other techniques, as well as their impacts on pests and beneficials.

NCAT Program Specialist Rex Dufour will be the webinar presenter. The webinar will build on an earlier one, Pest Management for Organic Production Systems. That webinar covered conservation practices such as soil management, hedgerows, and other beneficial habitat-management practices and strategies. It is available at

To register: Click on the following link

About the presenter: Rex Dufour's background is in entomology and integrated pest management. His work experience includes managing sustainable development projects in Thailand and Laos. Mr. Dufour has worked as both project manager and program specialist for NCAT and heads NCAT's California office. In addition to the ATTRA project, he is involved in several minority farmer outreach projects.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Kudzu Bug Discovered in Vicksburg, Mississippi

Wayne Gardner reports that kudzu bugs were found in Vicksburg (Warren County), Mississippi, on July 13th. Until this discovery, the insect was reported as far west as Escambia County, Alabama. The "jump" of the insect across the state of Mississippi was not a total surprise to entomologists largely because of its ability to hitchhike on vehicles. Audrey Harrison, a former graduate student at Clemson University, was first to recognize adults on a vehicle and nearby buildings at the Vicksburg location less than a mile from Interstate 20. Tom Allen, Mississippi State Extension Pathologist, visited that and another site on Saturday, July 14th, and found numerous adults and nymphs in kudzu at both locations. Based upon experience with the population dynamics of this insect, Gardner noted that the insect likely invaded the area earlier than this spring. Monitor the spread of this pest at Kudzubug.orgFull Story

Friday, July 13, 2012

Spotted Wing Drosophila, An Invasive Pest Threatens Blueberries

Spotted Wing Drosophila, Drosophila suzukii is a non-native invasive pest that threatens blueberries and other fruit crops in many states from coast to coast.  Fruits affected include ripening cherry, raspberry, blackberry, blueberry, and strawberry crops. It will also occasionally attacking other fruit such as plums, plumcots, nectarines, and figs. This fly attacks healthy fruit unlike most fruit flies which are only drawn to rotting fruit.
Here are links to additional information on this pest:
Trap for spotted wing Drosophila
Image by Hannah Burrack, North Carolina State University,

Spotted wing Drosophila on trap
Image by Hannah Burrack, North Carolina State University,

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Widely prevalent plant pathogen maps now available on iOS portable devices

Widely prevalent plant pathogen sites have been updated to a new format that is compatible with iOS devices. You can now view the maps on iPads and iPhones. Feel free to try them out and any of the following sites:

Invasive Bamboo Outlawed in Dover, Delaware

An article by Antonio Prado in the Dover Post says, the Dover "City Council voted 7-0 to approve the ordinance sponsored by Councilman Sean Lynn and city staff. Dover Department of Planning Director Ann Marie Townshend recommended the law based on a number of complaints made by city residents about the highly invasive, Asian plant. Under the new law, it is unlawful to plant or grow bamboo on any city parcel unless the root of the bamboo is entirely contained within an above-ground-level planter, barrel or other vessel, Townshend said."

It is good to know that as citizens, we can make our voices heard and make a difference. Help educate your Representatives and let them know you are concerned about the harm caused by invasive species in your area.

Thank you to the concerned citizens of Dover and the Dover City Council for taking this important step.

Read the article at

Yellow groove bamboo, Phyllostachys aureosulcata invading a natural area
image by Caryn Rickel, Institute of Invasive Bamboo Research,

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Web-footed Pest on the Move

Nutria, Myocastor coypus
Image by John and Karen Hollingsworth, US Fish and Wildlife Service,
Nutria were originally farmed in Louisiana in the 1930's for their fur. Since then, releases have been an ongoing problem. Sometimes it is a result of a storm event such as hurricanes, other times it was due to situations such the collapse of the fur trade in the late 1980's. In the time since they obtained their release into the wild, the nutria have not been sitting idle. "They are now as far afield as the vast network of rivers, estuaries and marshland that drain into the Chesapeake Bay," reports Theo Emery in a New York Times article, "Killed by Thousands, Varmint Will Never Quit."
Read more about the efforts to control nutria in Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.

The Hunt for Invasive Species Slogans – 2nd Edition - Rhyming

Chris Evans and the River to River CISMA are developing a series of posts to highlight some of the more memorable and fun slogans on invasive species that you can find on publications, bumper stickers, and t-shirts. This series on invasive species slogans will include occasional posts covering different aspects of the topic. These slogans seem to fit into three broad categories: Play-off, Alliteration, and Rhyming. The first post dealt with Play-off slogans. Here in this second post, They are going to concentrate on Rhyming.
If you know of some slogans that haven’t yet been posted in this series, please send them to

Five New Weed Risk Assessments by USDA APHIS PPQ

Five New Weed Risk Assessments by USDA APHIS PPQ

1) Araujia sericifera Brot. (Apocynaceae) – Cruel plant: The result of the WRA for A. sericifera is High Risk. A. sericifera is a woody evergreen vine that smothers native shrubs and trees (Weber, 2003), impacts citrus production (CDFA, 2011), and can kill native insect pollinators (EPPO, 2008; Weedbusters, 2011). Comparison of A. sericifera to the 204 species used in the validation of the WRA model indicates that it shares many of the same traits and impacts as other major-invaders and high-scoring minor-invaders. 

2) Neptunia oleracea Lour. (Fabaceae) – Water mimosa: The result of the WRA for N. oleracea is High Risk. N. oleracea is a floating aquatic plant that spreads quickly over the surface of fresh bodies of water and replaces native wetland plants, blocks water flow in creeks and drains, restricts boat access, and reduces water quality (Queensland Government, 2009). Comparison of N. oleracea to the 204 species used in the validation study indicates that it shares many of the same traits and impacts as other major- and high-scoring minor-invaders.

3) Nymphoides indica (L.) Kuntze (Menyanthaceae) – Water snowflake: The result of the assessment for N. indica is High Risk. N. indica is an aquatic plant that spreads by seed and vegetatively through underground roots. It has naturalized in Texas and Florida, and is considered to be spreading rapidly in Florida (Saunders, 2004; Jacono, 2002). Comparison of N. indica to the 204 species used in the WRA model validation study indicate that N. indica shares many of the same traits and impacts as other major- and high-scoring minor-invaders

4) Oplismenus hirtellus (L.) P. Beauv. subsp. undulatifolius (Ard.) U. Scholz (Poaceae) – Wavyleaf basketgrass: The result of the weed risk assessment for O. hirtellus subsp. undulatifolius is High Risk with a relatively low level of uncertainty (Figs. 2 and 3). This taxon forms dense mats, which replace native species, prevent regeneration of native hardwood tree species (Westbrooks and Imlay, 2009), and render areas undesirable for recreational use (Kyde, 2010). Efforts are underway to detect and eradicate this taxon from Maryland (Kyde and Marose, 2008) and Virginia (PEC, 2012). A taskforce was established in 2008 to focus on mapping and eradication of known infestations (Westbrooks and Imlay, 2009). They have developed a public awareness campaign to help detect and report infestations before they become widespread. Land managers believe that, if left unchecked, O. hirtellus subsp. undulatifolius will have a devastating impact on the deciduous forests of eastern North America for many decades (Westbrooks and Imlay, 2009). Plant managers, state and local native plant societies, Native American tribes, and others wrote an open letter to Congress requesting funding to combat O. hirtellus subsp. undulatifolius in Maryland and Virginia and prevent its spread into other states (Ford and Imlay, 2012).

5) Toona sinensis (A. Juss.) M. Roem. (Meliaceae) – Chinese toon/Chinese mahogany:
The result of theWRA for T. sinensis is Evaluate Further (Fig. 2; Fig. 3); the secondary screening gives a result of High Risk. This species has been in the United States for decades and only recently have people begun to report invasive behavior. Although it has characteristics in common with many invasive trees (rapid growth, vegetative reproduction), it has not been aggressive in its introduced range and does not appear to be comparable to the similar species Ailanthus altissima, for example. Based on the available evidence, T. sinensis is likely to be a minor invader (70.4 percent probability) in natural areas and a nuisance in gardens and landscape plantings, primarily because of its tendency to produce seedlings and root suckers up to 50 feet from the parent tree.

Click here to request the Weed-Initiated Pest Risk Assessment Guidelines for Qualitative Assessments

Monday, July 2, 2012

Kudzu bug website launched!

Kudzu bug (Megacopta cribraria) has spread widely across the southeast and has been causing problems in soybean.  Researchers have been learning many new things about this pest.  They have helped to create a new website to let you know the know the latest information.  The site will get new updates as researchers publish new discoveries, post inseason updates, or update the known distribution of this pest.  You can also help by reporting new infestations of kudzu bugs either throught the website of the smartphone apps.  Visit the site at