Spring Scourges and Ecology
March is a funny sort of month; anything can be expected to happen and much of it does. There are faux springs and bitter winds, just a typical March of any year. And just like the month of March with its interesting weather come two springtimes scrouges, and an interesting ecological occurrence that only happens once every 17 years, literally like clockwork.
You can’t really say they are back; they never went anywhere. Right now, the egg sacks are on your trees or on any object in your yard like lawn furniture, woodpiles, and cement walls. The egg sacks overwinter and then begin their nymph stages. This is when spotted lanternflies are at their most vulnerable, and now is the time to get busy…destroying the egg sacks. Take a plastic bag, filled partially with dish soap or hand sanitizer. Upon finding an egg sack, scrap it off into the bag using a knife or credit card, and seal it. If possible, crush it as well. Dispose of the bag outside. When there were not many sightings of them there was a state hotline to call, now it is unnecessary as the spotted lanternfly is obvious in the counties of Warren, Hunterdon, Morris, and Sussex.
Whatever sacks are destroyed this spring means less spotted lanternflies emerging later. This Asian pest has few natural predators, although as time goes on more spiders and praying mantises are learning to enjoy the taste.
Emerald ash borer
Since damaging trees in Michigan in the 1990s, this extremely destructive and invasive beetle, the emerald ash borer, has killed 50 million ash trees, including both white and green ash trees in New Jersey, according to DEP’s website. The beetle affects areas all over the state. The emerald ash borer, also called EAB, is a jewel beetle native to north-eastern Asia that feeds on ash species. Females lay eggs in bark crevices on ash trees, and larvae feed underneath the bark of ash trees going through stages of development to emerge as adults in one to two years. Signs of infestation include D-shaped exit holes and woodpeckers. This is another foreign pest that has few predators and so is mostly unchecked.
- It is thought to be the most destructive pest in North American.
- The moving of firewood from its initial location to another spreads EAB.
- The EAB beetle can fly half of a mile from the tree where they emerged from.
This is the year for Brood X! When trillions of cicadas from Georgia to Upstate New York and from New Jersey to Illinois, emerge in a mass exodus from the ground to party, find a mate, and perish, leaving only their eggs and their nymph shells behind. For about 6 weeks beginning in June and ending in July, a droning hum will fill the air. Depending on when the temperature hits 64 degrees.