New England’s Most Invasive Insects
New England is known throughout the world for its diverse ecosystem that sets the scene for a picturesque landscape. From majestic evergreens to seasonal blooms, there is no end to the unique beauty that can be found throughout every community. However, it is important for residents to know that invasive insects abound throughout the region, and they can quickly destroy natural areas if their populations are allowed to increase. Here are the most invasive insects found throughout the New England area.
Emerald Ash Borer
The emerald ash borer is a non-native insect to the region that has been increasing in number over the past year. According to the University of New Hampshire, this invasive insect attacks ash trees and causes them to die within only three to five years. As its name suggests, the emerald ash borer is dark green and bores into the tree to feed on the tissues of the bark. Once they have infested a tree, their destruction will lead to canopy dieback starting on the top and working its way down. Due to the recent surge in their invasions, it is essential that suspected emerald ash borer infestations be reported so that a quarantine and removal procedures can be initiated.
Asian Longhorned Beetle
The Asian longhorned beetle is another invasive pest that threatens New England trees. However, these insects have been known to infest several different types of trees including maple, mountain-ash, willow and poplars. The Asian longhorned beetle can be identified by its black body with white spots, yet its most notable feature is the black and white-striped antennae which can be up to twice its body length. The damage caused by these insects begins when the female beetle lays her eggs and the resulting larvae begin to feed on the wood. Tunnels, sawdust-like frass at the base of the tree and a visual sighting of a beetle are all signs of an infestation.
Brown Marmorated Stink Bug
The brown marmorated stink bug can create a large amount of damage in orchards and gardens due to their diet which consists of legumes, fruits and vegetables. According to the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, the stink bug tends to flourish seasonally when they emerge from overwintering around April, and then they make another round of invasions in the fall as they look for a place to spend the winter. When left unchecked, the brown marmorated stink bug can be unsightly in homes and will eat newly grown garden produce.
Preventing Invasive Insect Infestations
There are several ways to prevent invasive insects from taking over a garden or home. Prevention methods, such as seasonal inspections and repairs of cracks around the exterior of a home will help to keep them out of a person’s residence. In the lawn and garden, pests can be prevented by using natural pesticides, intentional spacing and by keeping close watch for signs of a possible infestation. If one is noted, however, it is often necessary to schedule professional pest services due to the rapid reproduction and destruction patterns associated with invasive insects.