While Kentucky is infested with an army of invasive pests, the number of other colonizers is also increasing.
According to state entomologist Lady Paris, invasive alien species are spreading across the Commonwealth due to human activity, and the presence of new species is likely to increase in the coming years.
These insects can overwhelm entire forests and disrupt agriculture in the state.
“The key is finding and controlling intruders,” said Paris. “Once they become established, they are very difficult to eradicate.”
Mr. Pari is Dean of the University of Kentucky Department of Entomology. The public can support efforts to control these species by: Report sightings through the ministry’s websiteHe said.
Here are six invasive insects to watch out for in Kentucky. Some are entrenched, others are still gaining a foothold.
Spongy moths are a major threat to Kentucky’s forests as they feed on hundreds of different tree and shrub species. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Native to Europe, this species first appeared in the United States in the 19th century in Massachusetts and has since spread abroad.
Officials advise watching out for caterpillars and spongy moths in their adult state. Defoliated trees and egg masses (yellow-brown masses found on trees, often on the underside of branches) are also indicators of this species’ infestation.
Kentucky has so far been able to prevent the moth from becoming established by monitoring the species and trapping it near its border, Pali said. Five states bordering Kentucky, from Illinois to Virginia, have already established populations, and the USDA’s Controlling Program is treating areas to curb populations.
imported fire ants
For many years, fire ants have been a threat to the West of the Commonwealth. But last year they were detected in significant numbers in the East, extending north from Tennessee to McCreary, Whitley, Knox, and Bell counties. Survey results show.
Climate change could also encourage the northward spread of pests like fire ants, but data on the issue are still lacking, Pali said. Insects tend to thrive in warmer climates, and states like Kentucky could attract exotic species that historically have stayed farther south.
These pests feed on crops and their venom can pose a danger to humans and animals. The state entomologist’s office advises staying away from suspicious mounds and contacting the local university extension or filing a report. ReportAPest@uky.edu.
more:Here are three tips for getting rid of invading plants in your garden.
Asian longhorn mite
Asian longhorn beetles ‘should be viewed as a serious threat to both animal and human health’ According to Healthy Farms Healthy Farming“Large groups can congregate in a single host, causing significant distress and blood loss.”
It has also been found to act as a vector for bovine theileriasis, potentially threatening cattle populations in the state and causing problems on some dairy farms, Paris said. rice field.
The species first appeared in Kentucky several years ago and has since spread to Boone, Floyd, Madison, Martin, and Metcalfe counties. Tick presence is expected to increase further this year.
For subscribers:This flower is only found in a small part of Kentucky. Can you save Louisville from sprawl?
colorful spotted lambo, Considered a “transformed cockroach” By Jimmy Kimmel, it has yet to establish itself in Kentucky.
However, four states bordering the Commonwealth have reported sightings, including two counties bordering northern Kentucky.
“I think it’s just a matter of time,” said Paris. “I will have it here.”
If this insect becomes established in Kentucky, it will likely damage not only the state’s forests, but also orchards and vineyards.
“These come in huge numbers,” said Paris. “They will eat almost anything that gets in their way.”
Kentucky is not yet a quarantine zone for the pest, but the USDA advises “if you find it, beat it up,” but only after it’s found and photographed for the record. must. report it to the officials.
Asian longhorn beetle
The USDA estimates that this invasive beetle is particularly devastating to hardwood trees, including ash, birch, elm and maple, threatening billions of dollars’ worth of natural resources.
It has not yet been confirmed within the Commonwealth, but has been appearing around northern Kentucky, including areas just east of Cincinnati, over the past decade.
This pest is usually about an inch long, has striped, curled antennae, and burrows into trees and kills them. Notice the “perfectly round wood exit hole the size of a pencil”. According to the USDA.
“If Asian longhorned beetles come into your neighborhood, they will destroy the trees in your garden,” said Pali.
For subscribers:Where Kentucky’s 40 Most Impressive Trees Are and Why They Matter
emerald ash borer
Since its discovery in Michigan 20 years ago, the invasive emerald ash has killed millions of ash trees, including in Kentucky, where it has built a significant presence. Only a handful of counties in the Commonwealth are pest-free.
Once these brightly colored beetle seeds infest an ash tree, the tree can only live another 1-3 years. According to the University of Kentucky Cooperative Agriculture Pest Survey. Within a year, the crown is greatly thinned, followed by an increase in crown area.
One way to prevent the emerald ash borer infestation is to buy and burn firewood locally. Carrying firewood can allow pests such as emerald ash and longhorn beetles to board and spread their infestation.
Conor Giffin is an environmental reporter for The Courier-Journal and a member of Report for America, a national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on unreported issues. The program will fund up to half of a member’s salary, part of which must also be raised through local community fundraising. To support Kentucky’s local environmental reporting, tax-deductible donations can be made below.Courier Journal.com/RFA.