Pest

Oak skeletonizer showed up late this season

Oak skeletonizer is a tiny caterpillar that feeds on oak by removing just the lower layers of the leaf, leaving the paper-thin upper epidermal layer.

Oak skeletonizer is a tiny caterpillar that feeds on oak by removing just the lower layers of the leaf, leaving the paper-thin upper epidermal layer.

This is the same leaf as above, just being held up to the sky so you can see how there is one very thin layer of leaf left where oak skeletonizer was feeding.

These two pictures are of the same leaf.  In this photo, the leaf is being held up to light to show how there is one very thin layer of leaf left where oak skeletonizer was feeding.

Oak skeletonizer (Bucculatrix ainsliella) is a native insect that defoliates oak in Wisconsin. Damage was observed in most counties in northeast and central Wisconsin. There are two generations per year. Damage from the first generation this year barely showed up at all, but defoliation by the second generation became quite noticeable in late August and September. Continue reading “Oak skeletonizer showed up late this season”

Oak bullet gall

Round hard galls from oak bullet gall wasps can impact growth of young oaks if the population is high enough.

Round hard galls from oak bullet gall wasps can impact growth of young oaks if the population is high enough.

There are a lot of galls on oak. One that can cause some problems at heavy densities is the oak bullet gall. These galls, sometimes called rough bullet galls, can quickly become unsightly. I usually see them on burr oak and occasionally on swamp white oak. They are caused by a gall wasp. The galls start out green-colored, eventually darkening to brown as the season progresses and the gall wasp larvae grow inside. Continue reading “Oak bullet gall”

Spider mites cause bronzing on oak leaves

Bronzing along the veins of this oak leaf is due to feeding mites.

Bronzing along the veins of this oak leaf is due to feeding mites.

In August and September, I observed bronzing due to mites feeding on some young swamp white oaks. The tops of the leaves were very bronzed along the main veins, while the undersides of the leaves remained unaffected. When looking at the leaves with my hand lens and under the microscope, I saw a very heavy infestation of mites. Mites suck plant juices from the cells of the leaf.

Continue reading “Spider mites cause bronzing on oak leaves”

Jumping galls cause defoliation on white oaks

Brown areas on these white oak leaves were caused by a heavy infestation of jumping oak gall.

Brown areas on these white oak leaves were caused by a heavy infestation of jumping oak gall.

Jumping oak galls caused by tiny wasps form on the underside of white oak leaves.

Jumping oak galls caused by tiny wasps form on the underside of white oak leaves.

If you were in Waupaca County this summer, you probably noticed that large white oaks were looking pretty brown. They were being defoliated by a tiny gall wasp called jumping oak gall (Neuroterus saltatorius). The small galls, which develop around tiny larvae on the undersides of oak leaves, fall off the leaves in late summer. Continue reading “Jumping galls cause defoliation on white oaks”

Acorn weevils

The round hole at the edge of the fallen acorn’s cap was created when an acorn weevil larvae chewed its way out to find a place on the ground to overwinter.

The round hole at the edge of the fallen acorn’s cap was created when an acorn weevil larva chewed its way out to find a place on the ground to overwinter.

In some areas of Oconto County, a large percentage of the acorns on northern red oaks dropped early. Most of those acorns were infested with acorn weevil, although at the time they dropped they looked whole. After sitting for a few days, acorn weevil larvae started to emerge in hopes of burrowing into the soil to find a place to spend the winter.

Adult acorn weevils have very long narrow snouts and feed on acorns that are still attached to the tree. They chew a small hole in the acorn, then lay an egg (or several eggs) in the hole. They then plug the hole with fecal pellets, camouflaging their work. The eggs hatch and larvae begin feeding within the acorns. In the fall, the acorn drops to the ground and the larvae chew their way out, after which they bore into the soil to spend the winter underground. There is a different species of acorn weevil that feeds on acorns that have already fallen.

Even though the acorns looked perfect when they dropped, the insects had already been at work on them. Floating acorns in water will allow you to sort out the ones that are damaged, even though you may not see damage on the outside.

Written by: Linda Williams, forest health specialist, Woodruff, (Linda.Williams@wisconsin.gov), 715-356-5211 x232.

 

Fall webworm

Fall webworm started showing up around the middle of July.

Fall webworm web

Fall webworm web

This is a native insect that feeds on deciduous trees and shrubs, and it is makes an appearance every year in yards and forests. Fall webworm forms loose webbing over branch tips and if it is a small tree, the entire tree can be completely webbed.

Inside the webbing you’ll find caterpillars (alive and dead), partially eaten leaves and frass (caterpillar poop).

Fall webworm caterpillars

Fall webworm caterpillars

 

 

Fall webworm is more of a cosmetic problem than a tree health problem, but if you want to control them, the easiest way to do that is to open up the webbing. You can take a rake, fishing pole, long stick, or whatever and open up the webbing. This will allow predators to get at the caterpillars inside the webbing.  Or you can use the rake, fishing pole, etc. and roll the webbing up. Then peel the rolled webbing off and place the entire web in a container of soapy water for a couple of days. If you want to use an insecticide, you need to make sure the insecticide is labelled for caterpillars/fall webworm and the spray needs to penetrate inside the webbing. With all pesticides, the user needs to read and follow label directions. There is no need to prune off the branch. If the tree is healthy, the defoliation should not harm the tree.  You can find more information on fall webworm here. 

Written by: Todd Lanigan, forest health specialist, Eau Claire (Todd.Lanigan@wisconsin.gov)
715-839-1632

New emerald ash borer finds in Wisconsin

Much of Wisconsin has reached peak emergence of emerald ash borer adults.

EAB emergence map as of August 28, 2017. In the north the light green shows peak emergence, and olive is past peak emergence.

EAB emergence map as of August 28, 2017. In the north the light green shows peak emergence, and olive is past peak emergence.

EAB continues to be found in new areas. Wisconsin tracks EAB at the municipality or township level. Quarantine counties are shown in tan and infested areas are shown in green on the map below.

EAB quarantine map. Counties shaded in tan are quarantined for EAB, and include much of the southern half of Wisconsin, as well as other counties. Areas shaded in green are the townships and municipalities where EAB has actually been identified, and show that not all counties that are quarantined are fully infested.

EAB quarantine map. Counties shaded in tan are quarantined for EAB, green areas are townships and municipalities where EAB has actually been identified.

Click here for a larger version of the map: EABDetectionsQuarantines

New county quarantines:

  • none

New finds in counties already quarantined:

  • Columbia County – town of Caledonia and villages of Poynette and Rio
  • Crawford County – village of Soldiers Grove
  • Dodge County – towns of Herman and Theresa
  • Fond du Lac County – village of Campbellsport
  • Grant County – city of Boscobel
  • Green County – town of Sylvester
  • La Crosse County – city of West Salem
  • Manitowoc County – city of Manitowoc
  • Sheboygan County – village of Howards Grove, towns of Mosel, Rhine and Russell

Written by: Linda Williams, forest health specialist, Woodruff, (Linda.Williams@wisconsin.gov), 715-356-5211 x232.

Dutch elm disease is prevalent this year

Dutch elm disease seems to be quite prevalent around the state this year, including the northwoods.  Symptoms, including whole tree yellowing and wilting have been occurring this summer, and will continue into this fall.  Dutch elm disease is an exotic fungal disease that is spread by the elm bark beetle and can spread underground through root grafts as well.  Since bark beetles are generally not attracted to smaller trees (sapling to small pole size) people often get their hopes up that their small elms have “escaped” and will survive and grow to maturity.  Unfortunately, as soon as the trees are large enough for the bark beetles to be interested in them the trees may become infected with Dutch elm disease.  The first symptom you will see is usually a single branch on which the leaves turn yellow and die.  The rest of the tree will die shortly after that.  Elm trees attempt to fight the fungus by walling off the portion of the tree where the fungus is located but this can lead the tree to self-induced water deprivation and death.  More info on Dutch elm disease, including useful pictures, can be found in the U.S. Forest Service document How To Identify and Manage Dutch Elm Disease.

Dutch elm disease is spread by elm bark beetles, which create artistic galleries under the bark of the tree.

Dutch elm disease is spread by elm bark beetles, which create artistic galleries under the bark of the tree.

Chemical injections can protect single trees, and some communities in North America still have large stately elms due to this strategy.  For new plantings, there are some disease resistant cultivars (those crossed with other elm species) and some disease “tolerant” cultivars of American elm which tolerate the disease without completely killing themselves.

Written by: Linda Williams, forest health specialist, Woodruff, (Linda.Williams@wisconsin.gov), 715-356-5211 x232.

Japanese Beetle Damage Extensive in 2017

Japanese beetles are abundant and causing extensive damage to many species of plants in 2017. Although many landowners in southern Wisconsin have experienced severe damage in the past, this is the first time many in central and northern Wisconsin have experienced an outbreak. The beetles are so common this year in part because populations have recovered after the droughts a few years ago. Many reports are also coming in from newly-invaded areas in northern Wisconsin.  Linda Williams noted heavy populations and significant defoliation to birch in the Minocqua/Woodruff area, and growing populations in the Rhinelander area.

Japanese beetles are pests both as larvae and adults. Larvae feed on roots of turf and ornamentals causing pale, dead patches that eventually combine.  Adult beetles feed on foliage and flowers of many plant species including trees, fruits, vegetables and weeds.  Linden, birch, crabapple, mountain ash, Norway maple and Japanese maple are favorite host trees.  Adults eat between the veins causing leaves to look lace-like.  Trees severely damaged turn brown and become partially defoliated.

Adult Japanese beetles feed on a wide-variety of plants causing leaves to have a lace-like appearance.

Adult Japanese beetles feed on a wide-variety of plants causing leaves to have a lace-like appearance.

 

Many treatment options are available, but in outbreak years landowners may be resigned to limiting damage to their favorite plants.

Control options include:

  • Remove beetles by hand and squish or put in soapy water.
  • Spray beetles with an insecticide labelled for Japanese beetle control.
  • Do not irrigate during peak adult flight to make the soil less attractive for egg laying.
  • Apply carbaryl (Sevin), clothiandin (Arena) or trichlorfon to the soil in early to mid-August to kill larvae.
  • Apply imidacloprid, chorantraniliprole, clothianidin and thiamethoxam to soil from May to early July to kill larvae.

Some common control options are not recommended. Traps are typically ineffective as they attract more beetles to the area. Biological control of grubs using milky spore disease or others biologicals is often inconsistent.

For more information see UW-Extension’s fact sheet.

Written by Mike Hillstrom, forest health specialist, Fitchburg (Michael.Hillstrom@Wisconsin.gov), 608-513-7690.

White spotted sawyer

Our native pine sawyer has a “spot” between the elytra (yellow arrow) that Asian longhorned beetle does not have. They also will appear dusty or pitted.

Our native pine sawyer has a “spot” between the elytra (yellow arrow) that Asian longhorned beetle does not have. They also will appear dusty or pitted.

White spotted sawyer, sometimes called Pine Sawyer, is a native longhorn beetle. It is often mistaken for Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB). How can you tell the difference between our native beetle and ALB?  First of all, size: ALB is a big burly beetle, while our native sawyer beetle looks slim in comparison. Second, ALB has a very smooth shiny appearance with distinct white spots on black wing covers, whereas our native sawyer beetle will appear pitted or dusty, and the white spots may be less distinct or absent. Finally, our native beetle will have a nice white dot “between its shoulders” where the wing covers meet, and ALB does not have this. 

Adult pine sawyer beetles feed on the bark of twigs which can cause branch tip mortality.

Adult pine sawyer beetles feed on the bark of twigs which can cause branch tip mortality.

Pine sawyer larvae develop in weakened, recently dead, or recently harvested conifers. Larvae first feed in the phloem layer then progress to inner wood. They will pupate within the tree and adults will chew their way out leaving large round exit holes. Adults feed on needles and the bark of twigs. Areas this year which will attract white spotted sawyers include areas of storm damaged pine, and areas of conifer decline due to high water levels, as well as any other areas where conifers are stressed. 

If you find a beetle and are unsure whether it’s ALB or our native sawyer, please take some photos to send for identification. 

Written by: Linda Williams, forest health specialist, Woodruff, (Linda.Williams@wisconsin.gov), 715-356-5211 x232.