Yesterday I was on a trip with the bird watchers from the Buffalo Ornithological Society. It was difficult to get photos of birds, as many were REALLY far away. The birders ALWAYS spot numerous birds, but birds are quick and rarely close enough for the camera.
I saw dozens of migrating Monarchs though, making my day. The pretty Monarchs will be coming up along with other critters I encountered. Many in the group discussed the declining Monarchs, wondering about what we might see next year. Everyone with a camera was snapping their photo.
I hope you did not miss Black Saddlebags Dragonfly – Pretty and Pretty Good. It looked at a dragonfly that was plentiful at this time of year in our area. Plus it is a good insect…
Today’s post is on an insect – a pest insect. A pretty pest, but still a pest to a tree. Which tree?
The Black Locust, which grows natively from the Allegheny Mountains through Pennsylvania to Georgia into Arkansas and Oklahoma, expanded its range a while back due to widespread use to reforest damaged land.
Used as a shade tree in reforestation, the borer you see in this post populated right along with its host tree over much of the United States. Black Locust, Pink Idaho, Robe Globe and Frisia (Want info on Frisia?) are popular large shade trees. Being a fast grower helps explain the trees use in reforestation, plus bees like it. Frisia, a very big seller here at my friend’s nursery, is profiled on Gardening Gone Wild coincidentally the same day as this post, so I added their link.
The Honeylocust trees, Shademaster, Skyline, and Sunburst are not affected by this borer. These are also very popular at the nursery – huge sellers.
Adult Locust Borers are most noticeable in September when the Goldenrod comes into bloom like you see in this post. Meadows are blooming with Goldenrod now, so the Locust Borer was easy to find.
Borer larvae tunnel into a tree’s trunk and branches, weakening and making it susceptible to wind breakage. Seeing the adults in numbers is a sign they have invaded trees with their young. Not only are the borers a pest, but the tree itself is an alien here in NY and gets culled in areas being returned to native plantings.
Robinia pseudoacaia is found in the Niagara Park system, but in small numbers.
These insects are easy to spot in a meadow filled with Goldenrod. They are colorful and striped similar to yellow jacket wasps. Often people confuse them with the wasp when seeing them in numbers on the Black Locust.
Seeing the insects enlarged shows the differences. The long, slender antennae and red legs of the Locust Borer really set it apart from the wasp. The Hickory Borer looks like this insect, but appears in Spring, not Fall. They feed on dead wood.
Trees weakened or damaged can be killed by a large infestation of the larvae. Drought stress weakens trees, making them highly susceptible to attack.
I grow Goldenrod, seen above, but no Locust Borers.