Invasive Exotic Beetles

Asian Longhorned beetle. Photo by Jeff Knight, NDOA.

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension Master Gardenerss (MGs) are now training with Jeff Knight, the state entomologist, to teach the general public about invasive beetle monitoring. Training others to watch for exotic beetles provides many more eyes in the field to spot potential problem invaders. The problem beetles on the watch list are the Asian longhorned beetle, emerald ash borer, banded elm bark beetle, goldspotted oak borer, ambrosia beetle, oak splendor beetle, pine shoot beetle, red-haired pine bark beetle, Sirex wood wasp and walnut twig beetle. Funding for this program was provided by the U.S. Forest Service with support from Nevada Division of Forestry.

Tree health, both in urban and forest settings, is important for many reasons, such as aesthetics, fire safety and wildlife habitat. Landscape trees are at risk when invasive species, particularly insects, damage or kill trees. This not only impacts property values and quality of life, but dead and dying trees become fuel for wildfires, putting both people and property in danger. Healthy urban forests are critical to many native species that depend on them for life.

Be watching for presentations on invasive beetles so you too can be a citizen monitor.

On another note, in my recent woodpecker article, I recommended sticky substances such as Tanglefoot® to deter them. Linda Hiller, a zoologist and bird expert, wrote me “There’s quite a bit of data out there about this stuff being potentially deadly to birds, about it getting on songbird feathers, then clogging their nasal area and even “gluing” their beaks as they try to clean their feet or feathers off. They starve to death or suffocate from this sticky stuff.” I know how sticky these products can be, and should have realized the adverse effects to desirable birds. I withdraw my poor suggestion to use these products to deter woodpeckers and recommend using physical barriers instead. Linda pointed out, “Sapsucker holes attract myriad birds and other wildlife (mainly to prey on the insects that are attracted to the sap).” Although a few holes may not kill a tree, multiple holes year after year can eventually kill trees, particularly if they are stressed.