Insect

Take Action! Look For Gypsy Moth Egg Masses

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

In 2021, gypsy moth populations increased for a second consecutive summer due to favorable weather conditions. Populations typically increase with an average or mild winter, below average spring precipitation and above average May through June temperatures.

Regional variation in weather can result in significant differences in populations. If weather conditions are favorable again in 2022, the most noticeable increase in caterpillar numbers would likely occur in southern counties, where conditions were driest during this past spring and summer.

Populations experience the fastest growth rate and are first noticed on:

  • Dry sites with sandy soil and abundant oak
  • Mowed lawns with preferred tree species (oak, crabapple, birch, etc.)
  • Large oaks (bur, in particular) with rough bark, especially on or adjacent to mowed lawns
Five small gypsy moth egg tan masses on a single tree branch in Walworth County.

Gypsy moth egg masses found in Walworth County in fall 2021.
Photo Credit: Gypsy moth egg masses KMSU

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Managing Damage By White Pine Weevil

Article By:  Linda Williams, DNR Forest Health Specialist, Woodruff
Linda.Williams@wisconsin.gov or 920-360-0665

Tree damage from white pine weevil is noticeable across Wisconsin this time of year. White pine weevils attack several different Wisconsin species, including eastern white pine, jack pine and spruce.

Adult weevils lay their eggs on terminal leaders in the spring. After the eggs hatch, larvae bore into the terminal and begin feeding downwards just under the bark which can result in the killing of a 1 to 2-feet section of the terminal leader as they feed. Terminal leaders will often have a wilted or “shepherds crook” appearance, and they will turn rusty red to brown late in the fall season. These dead terminal leaders will often break off during the winter.

A white pine tree with a cluster of dead twigs caused by a white pine weevil attack.

Dead terminal leader caused by a white pine weevil attack on a young white pine.
Photo Credit: Wisconsin DNR

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Mystery Walnut Defoliator Identified

Article by: Mike Hillstrom, Forest Health Specialist

In 2020, forest health staff in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa received calls about black walnut stands being defoliated and webbed. In 2021, the defoliation expanded to multiple additional black walnut stands in southwest Wisconsin, while northeast Iowa and Minnesota continued to see damage. Recently, molecular work completed by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection has identified the larvae causing the damage as a native Tortricid moth, Gretchena amatana.

G. amatana caterpillars on tree.

G. amatana caterpillars on tree.

Fine webbing covers walnut tree trunk.

Fine webbing covers walnut tree trunk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Young Oaks Defoliated By Oak Slug Sawfly

Article By: Linda Williams, DNR Forest Health Specialist, Woodruff
Linda.Williams@wisconsin.gov or 920-360-0665

The oak slug sawfly (Caliroa quercuscoccineae), sometimes called the scarlet oak sawfly, has the appearance of a small, slimy slug. Its slime helps it stick to leaves it feeds on. The oak slug sawfly’s tiny larvae feed in groups on the undersides of oak leaves, scraping out the green material from between the veins of the leaves. The upper leaf surface is usually left intact, creating a “stained glass window” look. Oak slug sawfly has the ability to completely defoliate leaves before dropping to the ground to pupate.

Two oak leaves eaten by oak slug sawfly larvae left with brown discoloration on the leaf and translucent patches.

Oak slug sawfly larvae cause defoliation on oak leaf after feeding.
Photo Credit: Wisconsin DNR

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Outdoor Hazards In Wisconsin: A Guide To Insects, Plants And Wildlife

Published by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension, this guide will help you recognize, avoid and handle potential problems caused by wildlife, insects or plants.

Contents:

  • Amphibians (salamanders, toads)
  • Reptiles (turtles, snakes)
  • Birds (defending territory, handling birds)
  • Mammals (short-tailed shrews, bats, skunks, porcupines, coyotes, gray wolves, deer, black bears)
  • Stinging insects (bees and wasps)
  • Blood-feeding insects (mosquitoes, deerflies and horseflies, blackflies, biting midges, ticks, chiggers)

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Diplodia Shoot Blight vs. Red Pine Shoot Moth

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

Scattered damage to new red pine shoots has been observed across many counties this summer. With the intermittent rains during the summer, the first thought was that Diplodia shoot blight, a fungal disease, was causing the damage. Upon a closer look, some of the shoot mortality is caused by the red pine shoot moth. From a casual glance, these two problems will look the same, so you really need to take a closer look. 

If Diplodia causes the shoot mortality, the shoot usually forms a shepherd’s crook. And, in time, you will find the fungal fruiting bodies on the needles, especially if you look under the needle sheath (covering) at the base of the needles.

Shepherd’s crook caused by Diplodia shoot blight. Photo Credit: Elizabeth Bush, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Bugwood.org

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Redheaded Pine Sawfly Numbers Remain Elevated In Northeastern Wisconsin

Written by: Linda Williams, DNR Forest Health Specialist, Woodruff, Linda.Williams@wisconsin.gov or 920-360-0665. 

For the third year in a row, colonies of redheaded pine sawfly have been noted on understory red pine in northern Wisconsin, with the most reports coming from Vilas and Oneida counties.

Redheaded pine sawfly larvae feeding on red pine needles. Note the needle stubs where they have eaten nearly to the base of the needle. Photo Credit: Wisconsin DNR

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White Pine Branch Tips Red And Wilting

Written by: Linda Williams, DNR Forest Health Specialist, Woodruff, Linda.Williams@wisconsin.gov or 920-360-0665. 

White pine trees in many counties in northeast and northcentral Wisconsin have developed rusty-colored wilting needles on outer branch tips scattered throughout the tree’s crown. These dead branch tips are associated with the feeding by white pine bast scale. The scale is a tiny insect that inserts its straw-like mouthpart into the twig to suck sap from the outer layers of phloem called bast. Damage has been observed on trees over 20 feet tall this year. 

Branch tips on this white pine indicate a problem with bast scale and the disease Caliciopsis. Photo Credit: Wisconsin DNR

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Pear Slug Sawfly Defoliation: Treatment Tips

Written by: Linda Williams, DNR Forest Health Specialist, Woodruff, Linda.Williams@wisconsin.gov,  920-360-0665. 

Pear slug sawflies (Caliroa cerasi) feed by scraping off the upper layer of the leaf, leaving the veins and the lower leaf surface. Severe defoliation has been observed and reported recently on crabapple, apple, mountain ash and serviceberry in Oneida, Forest and Oconto counties. The first generation occurs earlier in the summer, so the larvae and defoliation seen now are due to the second generation of the insect, which is larger than the first generation.

Pear slug sawfly larvae feed by scraping off the upper layers of the leaf. Photo Credit: Wisconsin DNR

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Fall Webworm Is Active

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

As we head into September, fall webworm is starting to make its presence known. This native insect feeds on deciduous trees and shrubs and appears every year in yards and forests. Fall webworm forms loose webbing over branch tips and can completely cover a small tree with webbing. You will find both live and dead caterpillars, partially eaten leaves and frass (caterpillar poop) inside the webbing.

Fall webworm larvae inside webbing. Photo Credit: Wisconsin DNR

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