Check your trees for invasive species

 

August 12, 2021



Are invasive species hiding in your trees? State officials ask you to check trees, lights, outdoor equipment and standing water in your yard for harmful bugs as part of National Tree Check Month in August.

“August is the ideal time to look for invasive insects and report any species that seem out of place,” said Justin Bush, executive coordinator of the Washington Invasive Species Council. “Trees, lights and standing water such as pools, dog bowls, buckets, birdbaths, etc., near homes are great places to look for insects. Trees provide natural habitat, and lights and standing water can act as traps.”

“Checking yards regularly plays a critical role in protecting Washington’s unique environment from the destruction that invasive pests can cause,” said Karla Salp, public engagement specialist for the Washington State Department of Agriculture. “Alert residents can help spot infestations when they are easy to handle. This not only saves time and money, but more importantly significantly limits the damage that invasive pests cause to our gardens and yards, local and national parks and farms and forests.”


Residents who find a suspected invasive insect are encouraged to take a picture and report it via the Washington Invasive Species Council mobile app or website. The council then will connect residents with organizations that can help. Private owners of non-industrial forestland in Washington also may be eligible for assistance from programs administered by the state Department of Natural Resources.

How to participate:

Search trees, outdoor light fixtures, outdoor equipment and standing water for signs of invasive insects.

If a suspected invasive insect is found alive, take a photograph and submit a report with details to the Washington Invasive Species Council either through the mobile app or website.

If a suspected invasive insect is found dead in lamps, pools, etc., take the following steps:

1. Collect the insect and dump the contents of the container onto a white background such as a paper plate, piece of paper, or paper towel.

2. Place a coin next to the insect for size reference and take a photograph of the entire contents.

3. Place the contents into a zip-lock bag for safe storage. Entomologists may ask you to mail the specimen to a lab for identification.

4. Report siting to the Washington Invasive Species Council mobile app or website.

People can also contribute to National Tree Check Month by taking these simple actions to prevent the spread of unwanted pests:

--Don’t move firewood. Buy firewood where you’ll burn it or gather it on site when permitted. If you move firewood, you also might be moving invasive insects hiding there.

--Don’t move a pest. When traveling locally or moving to a new area, check your bags, outdoor gear and boxes to make sure they are insect free. Invasive insects, which can be in any life stage from egg to adult, can tag along easily in bags, equipment and boxes and on items that have been stored outside or in your garage.


 

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