Agriculture News

February 27, 2017

Invasive Species Week a reminder to watch for destructive pests, Purdue entomologist says

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb has proclaimed Feb. 27-March 3 as Invasive Species Awareness Week in Indiana, an important reminder for residents to be on the watch for such potentially devastating pests as emerald ash borer (EAB), says Cliff Sadof, Purdue University professor of entomology.

“We’ve made some progress in combatting EAB, but the beautiful trees that line our streets and provide shade in our backyards and parks are still at significant risk,” Sadof said. “EAB is difficult to detect, and once established in a single tree it can quickly move to others, destroying the entire population.”

The emerald ash borer is a species of beetles native to Asia. They were first identified in the U.S. near Detroit in 2002 and spread to Indiana, where infestations have been detected in 88 counties.

Mature EAB feed on the leaves of ash trees but do little damage. The larvae, however, consume the inner bark, essentially devouring the tree from the inside out, cutting off its circulation and eventually killing it.

Experts say hundreds of millions of ash trees throughout North America have died as a result of EAB infestation.

Symptoms of EAB infestation include dead branches throughout the canopy, thin and discolored leaves, vertical splits in the bark and woodpeckers feeding on EAB larvae.

Adult ash borers are metallic green, about 3/8 to 1/2-inch long, round on the underside and flat on top. Larvae are cream colored, have pincher-like appendages and are typically found feeding beneath the bark layer.

Early detection is critical to stopping the spread of EAB and other invasive species, Sadof said.

“If you recognize the symptoms of EAB early and your tree’s canopy is mostly intact, you can still considering treating the tree to save it. It is vital for homeowners and anyone who values the outdoors and our native natural environment to become involved in this effort,” Sadof said. “If you see something, say something.”

Anyone who spots signs of EAB or other invasive species can quickly and easily make a report by calling 1-866 NO EXOTIC (1-866-663-9684), or file a report using a mobile app developed by the Great Lakes Early Detection Network.

The free app, available on iTunes and GooglePlay, provides identification information and links to a national invasive species reporting network. For more information on the app, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFvaweR4cSw.

More information on invasive species reporting is available on the Purdue Extension invasive species web page at https://extension.purdue.edu/pages/sc.aspx?intHomeID=1&intSubCatgID=16 and in the Purdue Forest Pest Outreach and Survey Project (FPOSP) blog at https://www.entm.purdue.edu/FPOSP.

The FPOSP is also offering a series of Early Detector Training workshops. Workshops will be held July 11 in Bloomington, July 12 in Aurora and July 13 in Nashville. Each session runs from 6-8 p.m. The workshops are free but registration is required. For more information, contact Sara Stack at 765-494-0822, stack4@purdue.edu.

Writer: Darrin Pack, 765-494-8415, dpack@purdue.edu 

Sources: Cliff Sadof, 765-494-5983, csadof@purdue.edu

Sara Stack, 765-494-0822, stack4@purdue.edu

Agricultural Communications: (765) 494-8415;
Darrin Pack, dpack@purdue.edu 
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