Comments sought re: change in gypsy moth rule

Aerial spraying of Btk for gypsy moths.

Aerial spraying for control of gypsy moths. Photo: John Ghent,

The WI DNR is proposing to deactivate the gypsy moth suppression program as requests for treatment have fallen to very low levels and this small need can be met by private businesses. The DNR is taking input on the proposed change to rule NR 47.910. If you have questions, concerns, or comments about this proposal you may give your input by attending a hearing or in writing. Input must be received on or before Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017 to be considered.

Public hearings will be held on Dec. 19, at 11:00 a.m. at DNR service centers in Fitchburg, Milwaukee, Green Bay and Eau Claire. Input may be given verbally or in writing at the hearing.

Written comments may be submitted by U.S. mail, e-mail, or through the internet. Written comments will have the same weight and effect as oral statements presented at the public hearing.

E-mail comments may be made at: (Please include “Attn: Andrea Diss-Torrance” in subject line.)

Written comments and any questions on the proposed rules should be submitted to:
Department of Natural Resources
Attn: Andrea Diss-Torrance
P.O. Box 7921
Madison, WI 53707-7921

Written by: Andrea Diss-Torrance, invasive forest insects program coordinator, Madison.; 608-264-9247

Gypsy moth numbers rising in northern WI


Fig 1. Average gypsy moth trap counts in northern Wisconsin counties. Map credit: Adapted, Slow The Spread Foundation, Inc.

Fig 1. Average gypsy moth trap counts in northern Wisconsin counties. Map adapted from the Slow The Spread Foundation, Inc.

Annual surveys conducted by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) indicate gypsy moth populations have increased in several northern Wisconsin counties and by 20% statewide. High moth counts were detected in pheromone traps in Ashland, Bayfield, Burnett (Dewey Township), Iron, Oneida, and Vilas counties, with the highest overall count in Bayfield County (14,354 moths total).  Areas with an average catch per trap of 100 moths or more will likely experience damaging levels of defoliation by gypsy moth caterpillars in the following year or years (Fig. 1).

Defoliation can be reliably predicted at the stand level by counting gypsy moth egg masses from August through March before egg hatch; these estimates help determine if preventive measures, such as physical controls, insecticide treatments, or delaying thinning activities are needed until populations collapse. 

In recreational and residential high-use areas, physical controls such as sticky bands and burlap barriers may be used to help reduce nuisance and aesthetic impacts from gypsy moths.  Aerial treatments are used when gypsy moth populations are high. In managed forests, use of silvicultural techniques may be economically feasible to reduce productivity problems caused by the pest.

Learn more about prevention and management options for your property by consulting with your local DNR forester or regional forest health specialist.

More information about population sampling and management options is available online at

Written by: Paul Cigan, forest health specialist, Hayward.; 715-416-4920

Recent finds of emerald ash borer in WI

Emerald ash borer (EAB) continues to be found in new areas in the state. Wisconsin tracks EAB at the municipality or township level. Quarantined counties are shown in tan; infested areas are shown in green on the map.

New county quarantines

EAB quarantine map. Counties shaded in tan are quarantined for EAB, green areas are townships and municipalities where EAB has been confirmed. Map courtesy of WI DATCP.

  • none

New finds in counties already quarantined

  • Monroe County — Town of New Lyme
  • Richland County — City of Richland Center

Written by: Linda Williams, forest health specialist, Woodruff.; 715-356-5211, x232

Updated forest health fact sheet – conifer bark beetle

Spruce beetle (Dendroctonus rufipennis)

Spruce beetle (Dendroctonus rufipennis). Photo: Edward H. Holsten, USDA FS,

The Division of Forestry’s forest health team recently updated another forest health fact sheet about conifer bark beetles. Like the oak wilt and hickory dieback and mortality fact sheets revised earlier this year, the conifer bark beetle publication offers information about biology, impact, prevention and management of the insects. The conifer bark beetle fact sheet is available on the DNR’s forest health webpage.

Written by: Mike Hillstrom, forest health specialist, Wisconsin Dells.; 608-513-7690

Jack pine budworm is a no-show in West Central WI this year

Jack pine budworm caterpillar on jack pine.

Jack pine budworm caterpillar on jack pine. Photo: Todd Lanigan, WI DNR

I conducted surveys for jack pine budworm caterpillars and egg masses in Dunn, Eau Claire, Jackson, Monroe, Pierce, and St. Croix counties last spring (caterpillars) and this fall (egg masses). Fortunately, I did not find any caterpillars and only one egg mass on red pine in Pierce County.  Based on information from these surveys, jack pine budworm should not be a problem in 2018.

Jack pine budworm egg mass on jack pine needle.

Jack pine budworm egg mass on jack pine needle. Photo: Todd Lanigan, WI DNR

In Wisconsin, jack pine budworm is a pest of jack, red, and white pine. It has rarely been found on white spruce, and in those cases only when the trees were located next to an infested plantation. Jack pine budworm can cause problems in natural stands, plantations, edge plantings/aesthetic strips, yard trees, and anywhere host trees are found.

For more information on management of jack pine in the state, click here.

Written by Todd Lanigan, forest health specialist, Eau Claire.; 715-839-1632



Ladybugs, boxelder bugs and others that want to live in your house

Multicolored Asian ladybeetles search for places to spend the winter and often congregate in protected places.

Multicolored Asian ladybeetles search for places to spend the winter and often congregate in protected places. Photo: Linda Williams, WI DNR

This fall, some areas of the state saw large numbers of ladybugs (specifically multicolored Asian ladybeetles) congregating as fall gave way to colder temperatures.  Box elder bugs, leaf-footed bugs (or western conifer seed bugs), and brown marmorated stink bugs were also seen congregating this fall in areas of the state where they have been found before. These insects are attracted to homes and will attempt to find a way inside to spend the winter in a protected place. The urge to look for an overwintering spot is triggered by the first hard frosts and freezes of the season, but this year we had a fabulous warm-up after a cold spell which allowed the insects ample time to congregate on houses.

Western conifer seed bugs (sometimes called leaf footed bugs) on the left, and boxelder bugs on the right, also congregate in the fall as they look for warm protected places to spend the winter.

A Western conifer seed bug (sometimes called leaf footed bugs) on the left, and boxelder bug on the right.  These two species also congregate in the fall as they look for warm protected places to spend the winter. Photo: Linda Williams, WI DNR

If you’re having problems with these insects invading your house you can try to “build them out”.  Spraying the exterior of your house with appropriate pesticides to keep them out (which will repel all insects for a time) works well but it’s recommended this is completed by the last week of September or first week of October.  UW Extension offers a fact sheet that gives suggestions for keeping ladybugs out of your home.  When I get calls about ladybugs or box elder bugs inside the home, I recommend vacuuming the critters up, but always avoid squishing, since squishing them will stain whatever they are crushed on.  Be sure to empty vacuum bags that have ladybugs in them as the ladybugs will start to smell after they die.       

It’s not unusual for me to hear of folks mixing up multicolored Asian ladybeetles with Japanese beetles … they’re two different critters.  And, yes, multicolored Asian ladybeetles are indeed ladybugs.  Both exotic and native ladybugs feed on aphids and scales which means that they’re beneficial, but only the exotic ones will try to spend the winter in your house or garage.

Written by: Linda Williams, forest health specialist, Woodruff.; 715-356-5211 x232

Six new counties quarantined for EAB

Since the August newsletter, it was announced that six new counties would be quarantined for emerald ash borer (EAB). The find in Chippewa County was due to a vigilant landowner while the other finds were due to trapping by USDA APHIS.

Wisconsin counties quarantined for EAB (WI DATCP)

WI counties quarantined for EAB  (DATCP). Most of Wisconsin is EAB-free, including most of the northern half and the yellow areas in all
quarantined counties. EAB has been confirmed only in those cities, villages and townships
colored dark green.

Continue reading “Six new counties quarantined for EAB”

Look for next year’s gypsy moth infestations

Gypsy moth egg mass.

Gypsy moth egg mass

Early fall is the best time for property owners to determine whether gypsy moths will be a problem next year. Gypsy moth egg masses are tan-colored and about the size of a nickel or quarter. Egg masses will not hatch until next spring, which means landowners have plenty of time to plan to minimize gypsy moth damage next summer. New egg masses produced this year feel hard, whereas those that are older are soft and appear faded. Most egg masses will be found on tree trunks and the undersides of branches, but they can also be found on buildings, firewood piles, vehicles and other outdoor objects. 

Continue reading “Look for next year’s gypsy moth infestations”

Winged ants

A mass emergence of winged ants. Large ones are unmated females and smaller ones are males. They will fly off to mate and start their own colonies. Photo by Mike Kamke.

A mass emergence of winged ants.  Photo by Mike Kamke.

On August 29, and again in early September, a mass emergence of winged ants occurred in southern Vilas County and some areas of northern Oneida County. Mass emergences of winged adults are part of a reproductive strategy used by ants to overwhelm predators, in the hope that a few of the new queens will mate and establish their own nests. When weather conditions are right, winged individuals from many ant colonies in an area will emerge and fly away to mate and start their own nests.

Winged ants consist of large winged females and smaller winged males, but many folks that reported these insects were concerned that they were seeing swarms of wasps since most people aren’t accustomed to seeing ants with wings. Once new queens and males fly away from the nest, they will eventually drop to the ground, shed their wings, mate and start a new nest. These events are relatively rare for folks to see as they are very short lived, with the winged ants generally being gone within a day.

Oak wilt update for Rusk, Washburn, and Sawyer counties

Early-summer logging damage resulted in oak wilt infection of nearly 20 mature n. red oaks. Oaks injured during spring are most vulnerable to infection due to an abundance of viable fungal spores, spore-carrying beetles, and large diameter water-conducting vessels in springwood.

Mature northern red oaks killed by oak wilt in Sawyer County. Photo by Paul Cigan

Late-summer aerial and ground surveys revealed new oak wilt infections within northern red oak stands in Rusk, Sawyer and Washburn counties. Below is an update on the finds in each of the counties.

In Rusk County, aerial detection surveys led to the confirmation of 10 new infections on county forest property. Suspected factors for these infections include spring storm damage and latent detection of past infections caused by logging damage during unrestricted spring harvesting. The county forestry department continues to use cut-stump herbicide treatments to control below-ground transmission. They plan to continue follow-up monitoring of treated pockets and have reported encouraging results to date; only a few pockets treated between 2015 and 2016 contained newly infected oaks on or near the edge of the treatment zone.

Continue reading “Oak wilt update for Rusk, Washburn, and Sawyer counties”