July 2016

After Discovery of Emerald Ash Borers, Harrison County is Placed Under Quarantine

On April 29, 2016, four adult emerald ash borer (EAB) (Agrilus planipennis) males were discovered in a trap 1.5 miles north of Leigh in Harrison County. Because of the potential for devastating damage to ash trees in the state posed by EAB, the United States Department of Agriculture – Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) and the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) have placed the entirety of Harrison County under quarantine. This action has been taken to prevent the spread of EAB.

The quarantine under TDA is an emergency temporary quarantine the expires October 27, 2016, unless renewed or replaced by permanent quarantine regulations.

The quarantine means that specific items are prohibited from being transported from Harrison County; specifically, the interstate (APHIS - 7 CFR 301.53-3) and intrastate (TDA - Texas Agriculture Code, §71.0092) movement of the following:

"(1) The emerald ash borer; firewood of all hardwood (non-coniferous) species; nursery stock, green lumber, and other material living, dead, cut, or fallen, including logs, stumps, roots, branches, and composted and uncomposted chips of the genus Fraxinus.

(2) Any other article, product, or means of conveyance not listed in paragraph (1) of this section may be designated as a regulated article if an inspector determines that it presents a risk of spreading emerald ash borer and the inspector notifies the person in possession of the article, product, or means of conveyance that it is subject to this subchapter.

A regulated article moved in violation of a requirement or restriction in this subchapter shall be seized and may be destroyed, with all associated costs being the responsibility of the owner of the regulated article pursuant to §71.009 of the Texas Agriculture Code."

Note that there are 41 nurseries, including four nursery plant growers, in Harrison County, Texas.

Please contact Plant Quality Program Specialist Dr. Robert Crocker (Robert.Crocker@TexasAgriculture.gov, 512-463-6332), Program Specialist Ms. Allison Olofson (Allison.Olofson@TexasAgriculture.gov; 512-463-7884) or Coordinator for Biosecurity and Agriculture Resource Management Dr. Awinash Bhatkar (Awinash.Bhatkar@TexasAgriculture.gov; 512-463-5025) if you have any questions or concerns.


Credit: David Cappaert, Michigan State University

emerald ash borer alert

Credit: Pennsylvania DCNR

TDA logo


$500 Grants Available for Invasive Plant Control

Texasinvasives.org is pleased to announce it is accepting applications for two $500 grants to control invasive plants in Texas. This program, an extension of the 2015 program, will reimburse the grantees for up to $500 of supplies and/or tools. (Unlike last year, grants will not be in the form of gift cards.) See below for more information.

Jesse Jones Nature center eradication photo

Credit: Rose Belzung, Jesse H. Jones Nature Center

Invasive Spotlight:
Sirex Woodwasp
(Sirex noctilio)

The sirex woodwasp is a large insect that attacks pines. Females drill holes through the bark to lay their eggs in the wood. In the process, they also inject a toxic mucus and a symbiotic fungus (Amylostereum areolatum), which together kill the tree while creating an environment in which the larvae can thrive. It has the potential to cause extensive damage across North America.

The sirex wood wasp is a member of a group of wasps called horntails because adults have a spear-shaped plate (cornus) at the tail end. It is a large, robust insect, usually 1.0 to 1.5 inches long. In general, its body is a dark metallic blue or black, although in males the middle segments of the abdomen are orange. Its legs are reddish-yellow, its feet black; however, males have thickened, black hind legs. Its antennae are entirely black. Females have a long ovipositor under the cornus. There are many native woodwasps, so positive identification of S. noctilio needs to be confirmed by an insect taxonomist.

Larvae are creamy white, legless, and have a distinctive dark spine at the rear of the abdomen. They create tunnels, or galleries, in the wood under the bark. When adults emerge after pupating in the wood, they chew round exit holes that are from 3 to 8 mm (1/8 to 3/8 in) wide.

The sirex woodwasp can attack live trees, unlike native woodwasps that only attack stressed, dying and dead trees. Foliage of infested trees initially wilts, and then changes color from dark green to yellow, and finally to red during the 3-6 months following attack. Infested trees may have resin beads or seeps at the egg laying sites.

This insect is originally from Europe, Asia and northern Africa. It was introduced inadvertently into New Zealand, Australia, Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and South Africa. The wasp was discovered in New York in 2004. It most likely hitchhiked in imported wood products. It is now found in Connecticut, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Vermont. It is not yet found in Texas, and let’s keep it that way!

Because of its potential negative impacts in Texas, the sirex woodwasp is a Report It! species as part of the Sentinel Pest Network, a component of Texasinvasives.org. If you believe you have found a sirex woodwasp, please report this species. Because there are many native horntail wasps that might be confused with the sirex woodwasp, we ask that you collect a specimen to aid in identification. Don't worry, they don't sting.

Follow this link for more information on the sirex woodwasp.

 sirex woodwasps

Sirex wood wasp female (left) and male (right).
Credit: Vicky Klasmer, Instituto Nacional de Tecnologia Agropecuaria

sirex woodwasp larva

Sirex woodwasp larva.  Note dark spine at end of body.
Credit: Bernard Slippers (FABI, University of Pretoria)

sirex woodwasp damage: wilt

Left: Pine needles hanging down (wilted) and turning color.
Right: Red needles.
Credit: Dennis A. Haugen and Kent Loeffler (Dept. of Plant Pathology, Cornell University)

sirex woodwasp damage: sap weeping from wounds

Left: Sap weeping from egg laying sites.
Right: Larval galleries under the bark.
Credit: Dennis A. Haugen and Kent Loeffler (Dept. of Plant Pathology, Cornell University)

sirex woodwasp alert

More News

U.S. and Mexican Firefighters and National Park Personnel Team Up Against Carrizo Cane Along the Rio Grande
Carrizo cane (Arundo donax) is a big problem along the Rio Grande. Because the river is the border between Mexico and the U.S., sometimes personnel from both countries team up to attack the cane. In this case, they perform a prescribed burn. The fire doesn’t kill the cane, but burns it back so that the workers can return later with herbicide to finish the cane off. Learn more.

Reintroducing the Alligator Gar May Help to Control Asian Carp
Alligator gar (Atractosteus spatula) once swam in waters from the Gulf of Mexico to Illinois, but were driven extinct in many states. Now the gar is being reintroduced to some of its former range as a means of controlling Asian carp. Learn more.

Using Pesticides and Biocontrol Against the Hemlock Wooly Adelgid in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park
Hemlock wooly adelgids (Adelges tsugae), small insects that attack eastern hemlocks that comprise much of the forest in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park, are now being controlled with a variety of methods. Trees are inoculated with insecticide, and predatory beetles from the adelgid’s native China are being released. Read more and listen to the NPR radio program.

Researchers: Be Wary of Internet Advice on Japanese Knotweed
Gardeners turning to the Internet for advice about Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica) are likely to find a wide range of sometimes contradictory and potentially misleading advice that could put them on the wrong side of the law, scientists have found. Learn more.

Controlling Emerald Ash Borer by Modifying Their Vision?
Scientists have uncovered a unique combination of proteins utilized by the emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) and its relatives in detecting the color blue. This opens the possibility of controlling the EAB by manipulating its vision, which could disrupt their ability to find mates and host trees. Learn more.

Asian Bush Mosquito Spreads in Europe
Until a few years ago the Asian bush mosquito, Aedes japonicas, was not yet present in Europe. Now it is expanding its range in several European countries, including Switzerland, Germany and Austria. While not presently known to carry disease, it is a nuisance because it bites during the day and is active even outside the summer months. Learn more.

Invasive Success of the Mosquitofish Is Due to Its Genetic Variability
The mosquitofish (Gambusia holbrooki) is one of the world's 100 most invasive species. To understand its expansion across Europe from Spain -- where it was introduced in the 1920s -- a group of researchers has analyzed, for the first time, the evolutionary changes of this animal through its genes. According to the study, genetic variability has allowed this fish to adapt and spread throughout its new environment. Learn more.

Invasive Garden Ant Spreads in the United Kingdom
Three new infestations of an invasive garden ant - known for building massive colonies of tens of thousands of insects with multiple queens - have been found in the UK this year, with researchers warning their impact on biodiversity could be huge. First discovered in 2009, there are now a total of six known UK infestations of the Lasius neglectus, which thrive in greenhouses and domestic gardens. Originating from Asia, they are likely to have arrived in the UK through the import of plants from infected areas. Learn more.

Impacts of Invasive Acacia Varies Depending on the Native Species
New research studied the effects of Acacia longifolia, a native of Australia, on native plants in sand dune areas in Portugal. As a nitrogen-fixing leguminous plant, the acacia adds nitrogen to the dune soil. It also competes for water. The research found that the effects the invasive acacia depended on the native species. Some species are negatively impacted, some are positively affected, and some are not affected at all. Learn more.


Project of the Month
It Could Be Yours!

The Texasinvasives.org team is pleased to announce competitive small grant support for supplies and equipment for invasive plant control to eligible applicants in Texas.

Eligible applicants include cities or counties, state agencies, tribal organizations, conservation districts, non-profit organizations or Invaders of Texas Citizen Science Program Satellite Groups.

Target populations of invasive plants are required to be validated observations within the Texasinvasives.org system and all treatment information must be recorded using the Eradicator Calculator treatment database.

To learn more about this new opportunity, please view the Request for Proposals. Proposal submission will be due by 5:00 pm CDT on August 15, 2016.

If you have questions, please contact hlandel@wildflower.org.

If you would like to highlight a successful invasive species project or nominate a special person to be highlighted in an upcoming iWire, please send the details to iwire@texasinvasives.org.


obs 2

Invaders of Texas Citizen Scientist Observations 2005-2014. 

Sentinel Pest Network and Invaders of Texas Species Workshops

Invaders of Texas workshops train volunteers to become citizen scientists to detect and report invasive species. Workshops, which are free, include information on the Sentinel Pest Network, which serves to increase the awareness and early detection of the Emerald Ash Borer, Cactus Moth, Asian Longhorned Beetle, and other pests of regulatory significance.

Workshops are tailored to meet the interests of your volunteer group, and supplementary session examples include an introduction to the TX Invaders mobile application and the Eradicator Calculator, a feature on Texasinvasives.org designed to help organize and track volunteer-based eradication efforts.

Upcoming Workshops:

Stay tuned!

For more information or to register to attend a free workshop, please visit the Workshop Page.