Insects Cause Threat to Local Environment

Photo Courtesy / Pixabay A gypsy moth before its transformation.

By Michelle Lyles

Contributing Writer

While there are times when insects are actually beneficial for our environment, it has been brought to attention that there are harmful insects in the area that are killing our trees at a rapid pace. Most of the pest insects in our area are found in forests and feed on our trees.

“Thus, they threaten the timber industry and all the products we get from wood,” said Professor Wallace of Biological Sciences.

These kinds of insects are the hemlock woolly adelgid, the gypsy moth and the emerald ash borer. 

“The hemlock woolly adelgid is a small, sap-sucking insect that is killing hemlock trees in the eastern U.S., we have lost many hemlock trees due to this insect, including trees on our campus,” Wallace says.

Because of these insects, ESU is beginning to lose trees around campus and Wallace says, “it is important that all citizens are educated on the potential threats via websites and informational flyers.”

Being aware of imminent threats in our environment is extremely important. These insects are growing more and more in population and the more they grow the more harm they will cause.

In regards to the gypsy moth, Wallace says, “The gypsy moth has been in PA for nearly 100 years.  The caterpillar (juvenile stage) feeds primarily on oak trees and can defoliate large tracts of forests in the months of June and July and kill trees if they are repeatedly defoliated.”

The more these populations of insects grow, the more harm they will cause the environment.

When Wallace mentions the emerald ash borer he says, “The emerald ash borer is a relatively new invader into our area.   The larvae (grubs) tunnel underneath the bark of ash trees, cutting off the distribution of water and nutrients up and down tree.”

Wallace also mentions that, “they are large, beautiful insects but there populations are rapidly growing and they are a threat to our area.”

There is an agency in the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, “APHIS that monitors our ports for these invasive insects.” However it is incredibly difficult for the agency to cover every single incident.

This is where the community comes in. Keep yourselves in the know and on the lookout for these insects, the environment could very well depend on it.  For more information the APHIS agency website. 

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