NEBRASKAland July 2016

NEBRASKAland Magazine is dedicated to outstanding photography and informative writing with an engaging mix of articles and photos highlighting Nebraska’s outdoor activities, parklands, wildlife, history and people.

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By Julie Van Meter State Entomologist, Nebraska Department of Agriculture Invasive species are a serious threat to the state of Nebraska, with the potential to cause millions of dollars in damage to the state. Early detection of invasive species improves the odds for successful eradication, or allows for a management plan to be developed to limit its impact. The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) Entomology Program conducts surveys across the state for invasive plant pests. State parks and campgrounds are surveyed because of the high risk for pest introductions. Visitors' vehicles and firewood are prime pathways for the introduction of invasive species. NDA are setting and monitoring various insect traps across the state, including select state parks and campgrounds. Visitors may notice insect traps while exploring their favorite park or camping area. These traps are part of an early detection program to protect our parks from invasive species, and while they may cause a few second looks, they pose no danger to humans. The Emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) is an exotic beetle from Asia, first discovered in the U.S. in 2002, but not yet found in Nebraska. Ash borer traps are large, bright purple triangles, resembling box kites, hung high in ash trees. Traps are baited with an attractant and coated with a sticky substance to 'trap' the insect on contact. Traps were set in May and will remain up until late August. Another invasive species of concern is the gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar). Gypsy moth caterpillars feed on a wide variety of broadleaf trees, and repeated infestations can weaken and kill trees. Gypsy moths are not established in Nebraska, but hitchhiker moths are occasionally caught in traps. This year, NDA will set and monitor approximately 500 traps statewide. The wax-covered cardboard traps are 10-by-5-inch and triangular shaped. Trap placement began in April and traps will remain up until fall. Thousand cankers disease of black walnut is a pest complex involving the walnut twig beetle (Pityophthorus junglandis) and a fungus (Geosmithia morbida). The beetles carry the fungus on their bodies and spread the fungus spores to uninfested trees. Lindgren funnel traps, which look like a series of black funnels suspended from a pole or tree, will be used to monitor for the beetles, which have not yet been found in Nebraska. Firewood helps spread these plant pests. Help protect our state by using locally harvested firewood whenever you camp. Do not take firewood camping; get it when you arrive. Leave leftover firewood behind; don't bring it back with you. For more information on NDA's plant pest surveys, visit our web site at entomology/index.html. ■ Bug Banter Presented by JULY 2016 • NEBRASKAland 19 Surveys on Invasive Plant Pests

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