The field tree moth, an invasive insect already a critical pest in Europe may have been unintentionally introduced into the USA by landscaping supplies.
Jon Zawislak, extension entomologist for the College of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, mentioned the moth may have come to the U.S. by a cargo of boxwoods from Canada this spring.
“Canadian boxwoods were shipped to seven states: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, and Tennessee and many of the potentially infested plants were then moved to other states – including Arkansas,” Zawislak mentioned. “The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is looking to find all infested boxwoods and destroy them as soon as possible before these devastating moths have a chance to become established.”
Zawislak mentioned USDA-APHIS is working intently with the affected states, together with Arkansas to discover and destroy the imported vegetation within the receiving services. The company can also be making an attempt to hint the sale of imported vegetation to decide further areas of probably contaminated boxwoods.
USDA-APHIS will present field tree traps and lures for surveys within the receiving services and different areas that obtained doubtlessly contaminated vegetation, he mentioned.
“If you bought a boxwood plant during spring 2021, please inspect it for signs of the moth and report any findings to your local USDA office or state agriculture department,” Zawislak mentioned.
In Arkansas, any findings must be reported to Paul Shell, plant inspection and quarantine program supervisor for the Arkansas Division of Agriculture. Name 501-225-1598 or e mail: [email protected]
On May 26, USDA-APHIS halted importation of boxwoods and two different species, together with euonymus and hollies, that are additionally identified to host the moth.
“This is the first known introduction in the United States, and if we can act quickly and thoroughly, we can prevent this pest from becoming established,” Shell mentioned.
Figuring out moths
Pupae usually first seem in April or May and shall be current by the summer season and into the autumn, relying on the native local weather and timing of generations. Adults first emerge from the overwintering era between April and July, relying on local weather and temperature. Subsequent generations may be energetic by June to October.
Adults have two coloration varieties, mild and darkish, and usually reside for 2 weeks after emergence. The wings of the sunshine kind moth are white to off-white within the middle, with a broad, dusky margin. The darkish kind is darkish grey with two small triangular spots on every wing.
Feminine field tree moths lay flattened eggs singly or in overlapping clusters of 5 to greater than 20 at a time in a gelatinous mass on the underside of boxwood leaves. Eggs are roughly 1/16 inch in diameter. Feminine moths can produce greater than 42 egg lots of their lifetime. Eggs usually hatch inside 4 to six days.
As soon as they emerge, the caterpillars will start feeding on foliage and spinning webs round leaves and twigs to disguise and defend themselves from predators. They’ll develop to be 1.5 inches. The caterpillars are inexperienced with. each black stripes and thinner white stripes working the size of their our bodies. In addition they have rows of black spots, from which emerge quick, skinny spines.
“It may be a low likelihood that we will find any here in Arkansas, but we’re better off safe than sorry,” Zawislak said. “When a new insect species is accidently introduced, we typically have a very short window of time to find and eradicate it before it becomes permanently established and impossible to get rid of. A lot of agencies are working hard right now to see if we can locate and eliminate this pest right away.”
For extra info and photos of field tree moths, go to https://www.uaex.uada.edu/environment-nature/ar-invasives/invasive-insects/box-tree-moth.aspx.
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