National Invasive Species Awareness Week is Feb 22-26, 2021

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Feb 19, 2021 – Wilmington, DE – As a local tree care company, Stein Tree Service reminds Delaware and Pennsylvania residents that next week is National Invasive Species Awareness Week (NISAW). The week, held this year from Feb 22-26 and organized by the nonprofit NAISMA (North American Invasive Species Management Association), encourages awareness of invasive plants and insects. Multiple webinars are being offered by NAISMA, and many areas also have local events to encourage awareness.

Emerald Ash Borer and Spotted Lanternfly- Stein Tree
Emerald Ash Borer and Spotted Lanternfly- Lanternfly image courtesy of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

The term “invasive species” refers to any non-native plant, insect or animal that is introduced into a region and causes some type of damage.

Invasive plants such as the colorful Japanese barberry, English ivy, or periwinkle, can disrupt or destroy a local ecosystem by choking out native plants that are food sources or habitats for insects or animals in the area. Those creatures may be a food source or a producer for others in the area and when one piece of the ecology is disrupted, others may follow.

Invasive Insects

Delaware and Pennsylvania have a number of common invasive insects. Events such as the NISAW help increase awareness of these dangerously destructive creatures, which is critical to saving affected trees and preventing their spread.

Emerald Ash Borer

The emerald ash borer, which was just discovered in Delaware for the first time in 2017 has moved rapidly through areas across the United States since its first sighting in 2002. The emerald ash borer primarily attacks ash trees, which flourish in Delaware and Pennsylvania climates, but has recently been found to be attracted to fringe trees as well.

The emerald ash borer can cause such damage to an ash tree as to completely destroy it within a couple of years. The beetle consumes the nutrients of the tree, beginning with the inner wood under the bark as larvae, and then as adults, from the tree’s canopy.

If the emerald ash borer is discovered early enough, a professional tree care company may be able to save the affected trees. The key is to be vigilant, looking for any signs of the insect or of loss of vigor in your trees.
Signs of the emerald ash borer include:

  • Galleries under the bark are formed as the emerald ash borer larvae moves and eats under the surface.
  • D-shaped holes in bark which are created as larvae emerge from under the bark
  • Excessive woodpecker activity may indicate EAB presence because woodpeckers feed on the EAB larvae. The birds damage trees further by stripping the bark off to get to their prey.
  • Crown Thinning occurs during an extended infestation because the nutrients and water supply to the top of the tree are disrupted.
  • Epicormic Sprouting can occur when EAB is present or as indication of some other sort of sickness or infestation. Even if the culprit is something other than EAB, you should have a professional inspect the tree.

Spotted Lanternfly

The spotted lanternfly presence has grown tremendously in Delaware and Pennsylvania. The insect spreads easily through transportation on vehicles or on items carried from one place to another.

The spotted lanternfly threatens local agriculture by causing damage to hardwood trees, grapes, apples and more. The insect is attracted to trees such as the tree of heaven (Ailanthus alitissima), another invasive plant species commonly found in local areas.

The insects are easy to spot when their wings are spread because they have small but bright red wings with white spots. When they are at rest however, they are a brownish gray color with black spots. You may see them gathered on tree trunks, or you may see the egg masses. These masses look like a smear of mud or rows of seeds. Hatching season is late April and early May, so now is the perfect time to look for them.

The NISAW encourages all types of invasive species awareness, but the emerald ash borer and the spotted lanternfly are definite local threats that homeowners should be aware of. Spring is a good time to schedule an inspection of the trees in your landscape to ensure that they are healthy and free of problematic issues.

Contact Stein Tree Service for Invasive Species Awareness and Treatment

Stein Tree Service is the oldest independently owned tree care service company in Delaware. We are licensed to perform inspections and treat for emerald ash borer in Delaware and Pennsylvania, and to work in any spotted lanternfly quarantine areas. Our professional certified arborists and specialists are dedicated to exceptional tree care. For more information about invasive species awareness or our services, call 302-478-3511 or visit the company website at: www.SteinTree.com.