Gypsy Moth Update from Extension Educator Tom Worthley: “On Friday, I observed these live adult female gypsy moths laying eggs along Chaffeeville Road in Mansfield. Obviously some caterpillars managed to survive the fungus and other predators and develop to maturity in some spots. If people are so inclined they could kill moths they can reach, (squirting the moths and egg masses with a bit of canola oil or very soapy water would work) but I’m inclined to think that a few adult gypsy moths are the exception rather than the rule.”
The organization was founded by Bob Ricard, Senior Extension Educator, as a result of his findings in a statewide needs assessment he conducted in 1991, the year he started working for UConn Extension. The results suggested that tree wardens (each municipality must have a tree warden based on state law passed in 1901) were not organized, received very little educational support, and didn’t know other towns had the position. Bob conducted a field workshop then the first organizational meeting at the Haddam Extension Center March 3, 1992. He was assisted by the late Dr. Dave Schroeder and Fred Borman, CT-DEEP, with the workshop.
Today the organization has around 200 members and an active board (including having recently completing a facilitate strategic plan to map out its next 25 years. Bob conducts the annual Tree Warden School (since 1998) with over 300 tree wardens, deputy tree wardens, and others passing the final exam. The organization hosts two workshops and an annual dinner meeting, advocates concerning laws pertaining to tree wardens, and sponsors tree planting events.
At the gala, Dr. Mike O’Neill, congratulated the organization for its success. Senator Blumenthal did the same and presented Bob with a Certificate of Recognition for founding and facilitation of the organization through its 25 years. At the end of the gala, attendees were talking of the next 25 years and getting together for the 50th anniversary.
Undergraduate students in the Department of Computer Science are developing a Stormwise app. The app will have two functions; tree failure reporting where individuals can provide a description and photo, and the app will walk people through a hazard tree assessment process. Collecting tree failure data will be of great value for research down the road, and will help prioritize work. All data from the app will come back to UConn. The app will be marketed to the public and other stakeholder groups when it is debuted later this year. Outreach audiences include elected officials and emergency management directors that make decisions about power and transportation networks in their community. Tree crews, tree wardens, and community stakeholders are also included. The Stormwise website also offers information for various stakeholder groups, and the program has an active Twitter account.
By Joan Allen, Assistant Extension Educator
It’s not generally good news if you discover holes in the bark of your trees. Common causes of holes in trees include wood boring insects and birds. In the case of insects, it is usually the larval stage that feeds within the tree while the adults feed on leaves or other external tissues. In spite of this, it is most often the adult stage that created holes in the bark. These may be either entry holes caused by adult beetles entering the tree to lay eggs or exit holes created when mature beetles or moths emerge following pupation.
Bark beetles are very small, often just a few millimeters long in the adult stage. A typical life cycle would go as follows: Adult beetles mate and females bore through the bark of host trees, leaving a tiny round entry hole. Once below the bark, she excavates a parent gallery and lays eggs in niches along its length. When the larvae hatch they tunnel outward in a pattern (gallery) characteristic of that species which can aid in identification. They feed on the living cambium layer between the bark and the wood and when the cambium layer is killed all the way around the tree no new conductive tissue is produced for movement of water and nutrients in the tree and the tree dies. Once the larvae mature, they pupate in their galleries and emerge as adults through new exit holes in the bark.
Bark beetles are often attracted to trees stressed or weakened by other agents such as drought stress or other pests and diseases. In addition, some species emit an aggregation pheromone from an attractive host tree that attracts many more bark beetles of that species. When many entry and exit holes occur together it looks like shotholes and there are certain bark beetles that are known as shothole borers. Some bark beetles carry fungal spores on their bodies and when they create their parental/egg laying gallery, the fungal spores are introduced into the host tree where the fungus can develop in the wood. These fungi may or may not have a direct impact on tree health and the fungus is sometimes a source of food for the larval insects.
D- shaped or oval exit holes are typical of Buprestid beetles including the emerald ash borer (D-shaped). Common names of beetles in this group include metallic wood boring beetles or flat-headed borers. There are over 15,000 species and some have brilliantly colored metallic looking elytra (wing covers). Holes are relative to the size of the beetles, which are small to medium in size. The D-shaped exit hole of the emerald ash borer is about 4-5mm across and the beetle is just under ½” long.
Round exit holes that are larger than those of the bark beetles are created by round-headed or longhorned beetles as they exit trees (family Cerambycidae). In this family, eggs are often laid singly in the bark and newly hatched larvae tunnel into the wood to feed until they pupate and emerge as adults. The Asian longhorned beetle falls into this group and the emergence holes are deeper than those of many other similar beetles. Pupation of the Asian longhorned beetle occurs not far below the bark but these larvae tunnel throughout both the heartwood and sapwood of the tree. Because of this, they tunnel out toward the bark to pupate, creating a tunnel from deeper in the tree. There are a number of native longhorned and other beetles that created similar exit holes. If you are concerned that you may have a tree infested by Asian longhorned beetles be sure to contact the plant diagnostic lab in your state (at your state’s land grant university of state agricultural experiment station) for a definite identification.
Some borers create somewhat longitudinal or horizontal scars on the surface of woody stems and branches. Examples are the rhododendron borer and the sugar maple borer. Two types of borer may attack rhododendrons. The rhododendron borer is the larva of a clear-winged moth while the rhododendron stem borer is a longhorned beetle. Evidence of damage begins as wilted then dying shoots and stems.
At least two types of bird create holes in the bark of trees to access food. Woodpeckers create large, irregular and rough-edged holes as they peck away at the bark to get to insects, including borers underneath. Sapsuckers also peck holes in trees but they are smaller, uniform in size, round and often occur in rows or grids of multiple feeding sites. As their name implies, sapsuckers feed on tree sap, not insects.
There is a final interesting cause of holes in sugar maple. Taps used for extracting sap for maple syrup production can also create round holes in that type of tree and they look very much like the exit holes of some of the larger wood boring beetles!
I recently went to Bushnell Park for the first time in my life and was glad I tagged along. My favorite plants since childhood are trees, especially the kinds you can climb up into and take a seat on a limb broad enough to provide a comfortable seat so you can view the world around you from a different prospective. It was while quietly sitting im trees that I first encountered many birds at close range, such as cedar waxwings, that don’t seem to mind being close to you if you are still and seem to be a part of the tree.
Bushnell Park, the oldest publicly funded park in the United States, was named for the Reverend Horace Bushnell, who conceived the idea of an open space in Hartford that would be available for people to enjoy free of charge. His good friend was the landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, who was involved in the designs for both Central Park in New York City and Forest Park in Massachusetts at the time but recommended Horace consult his Swiss- born counterpart, Jacob Weidenmann, who was also a botanist. Weidenmann became the first superintendent of parks in Hartford, and not only designed Bushnell Park, but also Cedar Hill Cemetery on Fairfield Avenue. Both of these parks are dotted with many notable trees, including those considered state champions.