Insect

Snow Fleas Come To The Surface

By Todd Lanigan, Forest Health Specialist, Eau Claire. Todd.Lanigan@wisconsin.gov or 715-210-0150

Snow fleas are a species of springtails that are active during the winter and are generally found in groups where their dark-colored bodies stand out against the white snow. While often observed in late winter or early spring, they also come to the surface on warm winter days. Cold weather drives snow fleas back below the surface to wait for better weather. 

Many snow fleas on snow.

Easily mistaken for specks of dirt or debris, snow fleas are tiny soil-dwelling animals that gather on the surface of the snow on warm winter and spring days.

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Join Virtual Q&A Sessions With DNR Experts

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Urban Forestry program will have a virtual booth at the 2021 WAA/DNR Urban Forestry Annual Conference, Feb. 21-23, 2021. Our virtual booth will feature a new video on our grant program and live group Q&A sessions with our grant and forest health specialists.

A virtual booth could be described as a hybrid between a Zoom call and a website, with some additional features. If you’re attending the annual conference, you’ll have the opportunity to stop by our virtual booth, just as you would at an in-person meeting. Staff will be available to answer questions at set times, and there will be resources available to view and download.

A new video on our DNR Urban Forestry Grant program will be available to view in the booth throughout the conference. Created by DNR Finance Specialist Nicolle Spafford and DNR Grant Manager Chase O’Brien, the video will show you the program’s basics and inspire you to start projects of your own while seeing some successful programs across the state.

Join One Of These Live Q&A Sessions At Our Virtual Booth

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Revised Factsheets, Guidelines Now Available

By Elly Voigt, DNR Forest Health Lab Technician and Communications Specialist, Eleanor.Voigt@wisconsin.gov

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has just released several updated publications, including the annual update of the Heterobasidion root disease and oak wilt factsheets and guidelines. Updated versions can be found on the DNR’s forest health webpage by clicking the links below:

     – Heterobasidion root disease factsheet
     – Heterobasidion root disease guidelines
     – Oak wilt factsheet
     – Oak harvesting guidelines

Minor revisions were also made to the environmental cause of tree damage and conifer bark beetle factsheets. Visit the DNR webpage here for other forest health publications.

For more information on forest health, visit the DNR webpage, or talk to your regional Forest Health Specialist.

Wisconsin DNR 2020 Forest Health Annual Report

By Elly Voigt, DNR Forest Lab Technician and Communications Specialist, Eleanor.Voigt@wisconsin.gov

The cover page of the 2020 Annual ReportThe Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ Forest Health team recently completed the 2020 Forest Health Annual Report. The report summarizes impacts from pests, diseases and weather on the health of Wisconsin’s forests. Highlights from 2020 include:

• An update on emerald ash borer in Wisconsin, including newly confirmed counties
• New township detections of oak wilt
• Flooding and tornado damage
• Summary of state nursery studies

For access to the report, visit the link here.

Municipal Detections Of Emerald Ash Borer Continued In 2020

By Bill McNee, DNR Forest Health Specialist, Oshkosh, bill.mcnee@wisconsin.gov, 920-360-0942

Emerald ash borer (EAB) reports continued to grow across Wisconsin in 2020. The total number of communities with EAB was 808 as of December, an increase of over 50% since the start of 2020. In addition, the insect was confirmed for the first time in six additional counties (Dunn, Florence, Oconto, Pepin, Price and Shawano) during 2020. EAB has now been found in 58 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties and confirmed on Oneida Nation land. Additional unreported infestations are widely believed to be present.

Municipal (green) and Tribal (blue) EAB detections in Wisconsin as of Dec. 10, 2020. Map created by the Wisconsin Dept. of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

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How to look for white pine bast scale and Caliciopsis canker

By Elly Voigt, DNR Forest Health Communications Specialist and Linda Williams, DNR Forest Health Specialist, Linda.Williams@wisconsin.gov, 920-360-0665

The association between a tiny insect and an inconspicuous fungus is causing branch and sapling mortality. White pine bast scale (WPBS; Matsucoccus macrocicatrices) and Caliciopsis canker (caused by Caliciopsis spp.) are agents in an insect/disease complex impacting white pines (Figure 1).

A white pine tree showing branch dieback in the mid and lower crown.

Figure 1. Branch mortality caused by WPBS and Caliciopsis canker.

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Deer hunters should avoid ash trees when placing deer stands this hunting season

By Bill McNee, forest health specialist, Oshkosh, bill.mcnee@wisconsin.gov, 920-360-0942

This November, hunters should avoid placing tree stands in or near ash trees, especially in the southern half of Wisconsin, Door County and the Mississippi River counties. Most ash trees in these areas are dead or dying from infestation by emerald ash borer (EAB) and may unexpectedly snap or drop large branches. Place deer stands in non-ash trees to keep yourself safe from infested ash this hunting season.

Infographic showing four ways to identify ash trees.

A photo guide to identifying ash trees.

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Tree mortality continues in flooded forests

Mike Hillstrom, forest health specialist, Fitchburg, Michael.Hillstrom@wisconsin.gov, 608-513-7690

Wisconsin has had historically wet weather the last five years, and the impacts to trees are escalating. Forest health staff have noted significant mortality of trees along lakes and rivers from rising water levels. Trees growing in low areas that have not flooded in many years are also being impacted.

Photo of flooded lakeside forest and dead trees around margin of lake.

Rising lake water levels causing conifer mortality.

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Summary of spring 2020 balsam fir mortality event

Linda Williams, forest health specialist, Woodruff, Linda.Williams@wisconsin.gov, 920-360-0665

The sudden balsam fir mortality event in Wisconsin in 2020 was similar to the spring 2018 mortality event, although the mortality this year was more scattered, and fewer trees were killed.

A balsam fir tree with a dead crown that has retained its needles.

Trees that died suddenly this spring retained their needles, which turned reddish-brown to brown.

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New emerald ash borer county detections: an update from DATCP and DNR

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), in partnership with the Wisconsin DNR, has detected emerald ash borer in four new counties (Dunn, Oconto, Pepin and Shawano). Please read this DATCP article for more information.

Adult emerald ash borer beetle.

Adult emerald ash borer beetle.

If you are a landowner and have questions about ash trees in your woodlot, contact your local DNR forester using the Forestry Assistance Locator.