Invasive Insects Threaten Michigan Trees: Report The Signs
The state of Michigan has a rather long list of invasive species. However, there are two particular insects that are outright prohibited in the Mitten State. As such, if you see the signs of these invasive insects that can kill or are killing Michigan's trees, you need to report it to the state.
There's a difference between a typical invasive species such as those pesky stink bugs and a prohibited species. A prohibited species is one that the state has deemed "unlawful to possess, introduce, import, sell or offer that species for sale as a live organism, except under certain circumstances," from Michigan.gov.
Both of the insects on the state's extensive prohibited species list are tree killers and both leave signs of their presence. Still, invasive species are difficult to stop. Once they are present, getting rid of them is a bigger struggle than simply keeping them out.
That applies to the first insect, the Asian Longhorn Beetle. In this case, the beetle has not been detected in Michigan yet. However, it's on the watchlist because it has been spotted in southern Ohio as well as Massachusetts and New York.
This insect targets one of Michigan's most populated trees, the maple. That means it has plenty of targets as it is and could become a big problem if it makes its way north. It's not just the maple tree, as the Asian Longhorn Beetle also preys on poplar, willow, sycamore, and horse chestnut trees.
These bugs can be accidentally transported through firewood and logs, so it's important to keep in mind that the threat of the spread of this species to the state is one that is taken quite seriously. The state website says its spread across North America would have an "enormous" impact on the country's economic and ecological health.
So, how do you spot this species? Be on the lookout for trees, particularly maples, with dying branches. Equally, larger branches and trunks will have egg pits and exit holes if the Asian Longhorn Beetle is present.
The second bug, however, is already in Michigan: the Emerald Ash Borer. The bug is present in the Lower Peninsula and detected in the Upper Peninsula and is responsible for killing more than 10 million ash trees in the state over the past 20+ years.
The state actually doesn't require reporting signs of Emerald Ash Borer, as the bug doesn't spread very far on its own. However, the ash tree is a wonderful tree species that is appreciated not only by conservationists but also by some religions.
These metallic-green guys are tiny; small enough to fit on the head of a penny. But they do leave behind a similar sign as the Asian Longhorn Beetle with exit holes on ash trees that can look D-shaped.
Their presence isn't as dire as the Asian Longhorn Beetle should it make its way to Michigan, but it's still wise to keep the Emerald Ash Borer out of our ecosystem if at all possible to protect ash trees.
Because they typically only fly about half a mile, their main method of spreading is through firewood. Exercise caution when transporting firewood when necessary and avoid doing so if you suspect the species' presence.