The Forest Resource Education Center in Jackson, New Jersey in Ocean County has opened a new exhibit spotlighting five important tree-killing insect pests. Considering the number of invasive insect pests that have been discovered by private citizens, an interactive exhibit such as this might aid officials in containing future invasive insect pest outbreaks.
The five tree insect pests highlighted include:
1. Asian Longhorned Beetle
2. Emerald Ash Borer
3. Gypsy Moth
4. Sirex Woodwasp
5. Southern Pine Beetle
Asian Longhorned Beetle
The Asian Longhorned Beetle was first discovered in Jersey City, New Jersey in 2002. It took five years for arborists, working with state and federal authorities, to eradicate this highly destructive invasive insect pest. Many trees in, and around, the epicenter of the discovery of Asian Longhorned Beetle were removed. Arborists injected trees around the perimeter of the tree removal zone to prevent the further spread of the Asian Longhorned Beetle. In 2004 the Asian Longhorned Beetle was discovered in Middlesex County and Union County which prompted arborists to begin another eradication effort. Monitoring is still continuing in Middlesex County and Union County and no new trees have been found to be infested with Asian Longhorned Beetle since 2008.
Emerald Ash Borer
Another tree borer imported from Asia is the Emerald Ash Borer. First detected in southeast Michigan in 2002, the Emerald Ash Borer has been responsible for the death of millions of Ash trees throughout several Midwest states and Canada. Monitoring with pheromone traps is being used to detect the presence of Emerald Ash Borer in New Jersey.
A serious defoliator of Oak trees, Gypsy Moth has been known to feed on over 150 different species of trees and shrubs. The Gypsy Moth population in New Jersey has begun to decline since its peak in 2008. The population decrease in Gypsy Moth has been attributed to a combination of an ongoing tree spray program, an increase in a beneficial fungus that attacks the caterpillar, predation, and a natural cyclic population decline. New Jersey forestry official will continue to monitor Gypsy Moth populations and regulate insect control programs accordingly.
The Sirex Woodwasp was first discovered in New York in 2006 and has since been found in Michigan, Ohio, and Vermont. A native to Eurasia and North Africa, this invasive insect pest targets Pine trees growing in crowded conditions. The potential threat from Sirex Woodwasp has yet to be determined, but could range into the billions of dollars.
Southern Pine Beetle
The southern U.S. has been losing Pine trees to Southern Pine Beetle for more than 30 years. Infestations of Southern Pine Beetle can cause Pine trees to die quickly. Pines may transition from off color needles, to yellow needles, to brown needles in less than a month. The Southern Pine Beetle was responsible for the loss of 14,000 acres of Pine trees in New Jersey in 2010.
State and federal forestry officials would like to remind everyone that invasive insects are easily moved on firewood. Buying firewood locally, and not transporting firewood when camping, can give forestry officials the time necessary to develop insect control programs to curb the damage caused by invasive insects.