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Author: Burkholder PHC

Emerald Ash Borer: A Threat to Pennsylvania’s Ash Trees

In this third installment of our series on invasive species of insects, we will discuss the emerald ash borer (EAB). This invasive woodboring beetle has wreaked havoc on ash tree populations in Pennsylvania and other states in the United States and other regions in North America. As a homeowner, you should understand the impact of this invasive pest. Below, we discuss the characteristics, life cycle, and damage caused by emerald ash borer in Pennsylvania as well as some prevention and treatment methods.

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What Is the Emerald Ash Borer?

The emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) is a small, metallic green species of beetle native to northeastern Asia that has become invasive to North America. The beetle was first discovered in the United States in 2002 in Michigan and has since spread to 30 states, including Pennsylvania. EAB attacks and kills ash trees in North America by feeding on their inner bark, disrupting the tree’s ability to transport water and nutrients.

Emerald Ash Borer Appearance

    Adult EAB are distinguished by their bright metallic green color and are approximately 1/3 of an inch (8.5 mm) long and about 1/16 of an inch (1.6 mm) wide. Females are also slightly larger than males. The elytra (hard shells that serve as protective cases for wings) are typically a darker green but can also have copper hues. Another distinguishing feature of the adult emerald ash borer species is its bright red upper abdomen that can be seen when the wings and elytra spread.

    emerald ash borer on a leaf - photo by Brian Wheeler, United States Department of Agriculture

      Larvae are white to cream-colored with 10 abdominal segments. The last segment has a pair of brown, pincer-like appendages. Larvae typically reach a length of 1 to 1¼ inches.

      tree damaged by emerald ash borer-Burkholder PHC

      Emerald Ash Borer Life Cycle

      The emerald ash borer has a 1-year life cycle. Adult beetles emerge through D-shaped exit holes in a tree around late May and early June—adult activity peaks between mid-June and early July. After appearing, the adult beetles feed on ash foliage for several days and then begin to mate. Females lay approximately 60-90 eggs in their lifespan, which hatch in 7 to 10 days.

      After hatching, the larvae tunnel through the bark into the ash tree’s phloem (plant tissue). Larvae feed on phloem for several weeks, creating S-shaped paths in the tree under the bark. As larvae grow, these galleries become progressively wider. Prepupal larvae overwinter in shallow chambers within the bark. Pupation begins in late April or early May and lasts 1 to 2 weeks when this species’ life cycle starts again.

      Signs and Symptoms

      If you have ash trees on your property, knowing the signs and symptoms of EAB infestation is crucial to keeping them safe and preventing damage. These signs include the following:

      • Thinning canopy and dieback of branches
      • D-shaped exit holes in the ash tree bark
      • S-shaped galleries under the bark
      • Increased woodpecker activity (as woodpeckers feed on larvae)

      Damage from Emerald Ash Borer

      As mentioned above, EAB larvae feed on the nutrient-rich inner phloem, cambium, and outer xylem beneath the bark, creating S-shaped galleries packed with sawdust-like frass. As the infestation of this invasive species progresses, the symptoms mentioned above become more apparent. Trees will die after 3 to 4 years of heavy infestation, making EAB control tactics crucial to preserving ash tree populations.

      Preventing Emerald Ash Borer Infestation

      Prevention is the best way to avoid damage, and there are several steps you can take to protect your ash trees from EAB:

      • Do not move firewood: Moving firewood can inadvertently transport EAB to new locations. Some states, including Pennsylvania, have restrictions on moving firewood because of invasive insect species. Always buy firewood locally and burn on-site.
      • Use insecticides: Preventive insecticides containing certain ingredients and agents can be applied to healthy ash trees to protect them from EAB. Consult a certified arborist for advice on the appropriate insecticides and application methods.
      • Plant diverse tree species: Planting a variety of tree species can help reduce the impact of EAB on your property and promote a healthier ecosystem.

      canopy dieback from emerald ash borer infestation-Burkholder PHC
      tree being treated for emerald ash borer infestation - Burkholder PHC

      Damage from Emerald Ash Borer

      As mentioned above, EAB larvae feed on the nutrient-rich inner phloem, cambium, and outer xylem beneath the bark, creating S-shaped galleries packed with sawdust-like frass. As the infestation of this invasive species progresses, the symptoms mentioned above become more apparent. Trees will die after 3 to 4 years of heavy infestation, making EAB control tactics crucial to preserving ash tree populations.

      Treating EAB Infestation

      If your ash trees are already infested with EAB, Burkholder PHC offers various treatment options, including:

      • Insecticide: Treatments can be applied to infested trees to kill EAB larvae and prevent further damage. Some application options include soil drenches, soil injections, or stem injections.
      • Tree Removal: In some cases, infested trees may need to be removed to prevent the spread of EAB to nearby healthy trees.
      • Replacement Planting: After removing infested trees, consider planting a diverse selection of tree species to help restore the ecosystem.

      Contact Burkholder PHC for Emerald Ash Borer Treatment in Your Landscape

      If you suspect or are concerned about emerald ash borer impacting your property, contact Burkholder PHC for expert advice and treatment options. We provide a free evaluation by our highly experienced, qualified plant health care experts and certified arborists to help remove and control invasive species and the adverse effects these pests cause. Contact Burkholder PHC today for a free consultation or more emerald ash borer information.

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      Plant Health Care Issues for Roses

      Roses are a popular plant choice for homeowners, representing beauty and elegance, gracing gardens and landscapes with vibrant colors and rich fragrances. However, these delicate flowers are also susceptible to various types of disease and pests that can compromise their health and appearance. We have treated rose plants at multiple residences this season, and below we discuss some of the common plant health care issues for roses, focusing on disease prevention and treatment methods to help you keep your roses thriving and disease-free.

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      Rose Diseases

      Common rose diseases in Pennsylvania include powdery mildew, Botrytis blight, Rose Mosaic virus, Crown Gall, and stem canker. Some of these diseases are fungal infections, while others are viral.

      Powdery Mildew

      Powdery mildew is one of the most common foliar diseases of roses. The white, powdery fungal growth can be very disfiguring, with repeated heavy infection reducing plant vigor.

      The powdery mildew fungus that affects roses is Podosphaera pannosa var. rosae, formerly known as Sphaerotheca pannosa.
      Powdery mildew usually appears in spring or autumn when conditions are warm and humid, though plants can be affected at other times of year if conditions are right.

      This a Rose bush we treated on a property for two common problems, including powdery mildew, that are relatively easy to identify. Powdery mildew is the cause of white and light grey spots on the leaves. The holes are caused by slug sawfly larva feeding on the leaves. Both will be treated and this rose will fully recover.

      Rose leaves with sawfly and powdery mildew-Burkholder PHC
      Rose plant with Rose rosette - Burkholder PHC

      Rose Rosette

      Rose rosette disease affects multiflora rose and ornamental Rosa genus plants., is caused by a virus (Emaravirus sp.) that is spread by a very small, eriophyid mite (Phyllocoptes fructiphylus). The mite feeds on the underside of leaves and injects saliva into the leaf tissue. The virus is then transmitted to new leaves when the mites move to new plants. They are wingless, but they can be carried on the wind or on clothing to new plants.

      The symptoms of rose rosette appear as raised brown spots on new growth and on flowers. As the disease progresses, it causes deformation in the leaves and stems so that they resemble witches’ brooms.

      Botrytis Blight

      Botrytis blight is a fungal disease that is quite common in roses. Most common in cool, damp weather, the fungus infects the plant, causing gray spots on the leaves and petals. The fungus can also move to the cane, or stem of the rose plants.

      Rose Mosaic Virus

      Rose mosaic virus is a viral disease that causes yellowing and distortion of leaves. Aphids and thrips can transmit it. An important distinction between rose rosette and rose mosaic is that the rose rosette virus will kill the infected rose plants. Rose mosaic virus disease may cause symptoms such as slow growth, reduced flowers and increased susceptibility to frost for the entire life of the plant.

      Crown Gall

      Rose crown gall is a bacterial disease that causes tumor-like growths on the stems and roots of roses. Often considered a minor problem, it can cause considerable aesthetic damage to plants if left untreated.

      Crown gall is caused by the bacterium Agrobacterium tumefaciens (AT) and is spread by infected plant material. The pathogen enters through wounds in the plant tissue, which may be caused by pruning, transplanting or other physical damage. Once inside, AT causes abnormal cell proliferation. This results in warty growths on the stem or root called galls.
      Rose crown gall symptoms include the following:

      • decreased blossoms
      • formation of large, irregular swellings at ground level
      • brown discoloration of affected stems

      The disease can be spread by pruning equipment, or by galls breaking down in the soil. In the latter case, the pathogen can survive up to 3 years.

      Cankers

      Cankers are caused by a variety of fungi. These diseases cause reddish brown spots on canes (stems) that become covered with tiny black dots. Cankers can eventually kill the cane, and can be spread through pruning equipment.

      Preventing Health Issues For Roses

      To prevent these diseases and other plant health care issues for roses, good cultural methods such as proper watering, pruning, fertilization, and soil care are vital. Additionally, organic or chemical control methods, such as fungicides and horticultural oils, can protect your roses from diseases.

      Good Air Circulation

      Proper air circulation is crucial for maintaining the health of your roses. Good air circulation helps prevent the growth of fungal diseases by reducing humidity around the plants. To achieve this, roses need to be spaced adequately, pruned regularly, and any weeds or debris that may obstruct airflow need to be removed. Research has shown that proper air circulation can significantly reduce the incidence of diseases like powdery mildew in roses.

      Resistant Varieties

      Some rose varieties are more resistant to certain types of disease and pests than others. Choosing resistant varieties can reduce the need for chemical treatments and make maintaining plant health more manageable. Recommended disease-resistant rose varieties include ‘Knock Out,’ ‘Carefree Beauty,’ and ‘New Dawn,’ among others.

      Early Spring Care

      In early spring, roses need to be pruned to remove dead or diseased wood, fertilized with a slow-release fertilizer, and a dormant oil should be applied to control pests. Proper pruning is essential, as homeowners run the risk of wounding their plants by not making careful, precise cuts.

      As an example, the best way to prevent crown gall is to avoid wounding plants when pruning or transplanting them.

      Applications

      • Fungicides can be an effective tool for preventing and treating rose diseases. Botrytis blight, for example, can be treated with a fungicide spray, but it should be done as early as possible, before the fungus has had time to spread. An important note is that fungicides must be applied carefully to avoid resistance development.
      • Insecticides or horticultural oils can be useful to help control pests, such as aphids, and disease. Viral diseases like the rose mosaic virus can be controlled by systemic insecticides containing antibiotics to prevent infestation of aphids and thrips.

      Contact Burkholder PHC for Plant Health Care Issues for Roses

      If you want to keep your roses vibrant and maintain other healthy plants on your property, contact Burkholder PHC for more information or to schedule a consultation. Burkholder PHC has a team of experienced, qualified experts that can help homeowners maintain the health and appearance of their roses and other plant life. With years of experience in the field, our team knows how to treat plant health care issues for roses and high value landscape plants.

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      What are Bagworms?

      Bagworms are a common pest in the United States. The bagworm (Thyridopteryx ephemeraeformis) is small, about 1/4 inch long, and very active. Bagworms are the larvae of Psychid moths, a type of moth considered a pest. Bagworms are no threat to humans but can damage plant life and wood structures (such as decks) if left untreated for too long.

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      Life Cycle of Bagworms

      Bagworms live their entire life cycles on the plant or tree the insects feed on. Therefore, bagworm activity is probably nearby if you see bags hanging from trees and shrubs during the spring or summer.

      Bagworm moths lay eggs on the underside of leaves in spring and summer. Adult female bagworms lay nearly 1,000 eggs in each bag. The eggs then hatch into tiny bagworm caterpillars and spin a series of silk threads that connect them to branches or twigs. Next, the caterpillar creates protective “bags” out of leaves, needles, or flower petals that can be up to two inches long.

      Next the caterpillar feeds inside these little cocoons until pupating into an adult moth (or egg-laying female). In this cocoon-like covering, the caterpillars remain dormant until mid-June through early August, emerging as adult moths to mate and produce new generations of bagworms. This cycle repeats every year until killed by cold weather or pesticides.

      Protective bag for bagworms hanging from a branch | Burkholder PHC

      Behavior

      The bags that bagworms make for themselves are protective but also serve as an effective way for them to move around. When the time comes for them to find a new place, the pests detach themselves from their bag and let the bag fall. When we see large clumps falling from trees like this, we know plenty of bagworm larvae are inside.

      Bagworms primarily eat evergreen trees and bushes but can feed on more than 120 species of plants. A bagworm will also feed on ornamental plantings such as maples, conifers, crabapples, and cranberry bushes. These insects are some of the most common pests that attack shade trees in our landscapes.

      In rare cases, bagworms will also eat deciduous trees and shrubs. These pests are most commonly found on evergreens such as spruce and pine trees but can also be found on other plants like rhododendron bushes.

      Arborvitae damage, dieback and defoliation, due to bagworms | Burkholder PHC

      Damage

      Bagworm larvae damage plants by feeding on needles and leaves. Young bagworms feed on the upper epidermis of host plants, leaving tiny holes in the foliage. Damage by mature larvae is incredibly destructive to evergreen plants, such as cedar, juniper, and arborvitae.

      Identifying Signs of Bagworms

      Identifying these pests and taking steps to eliminate them before they cause significant damage is important. Because of their unique appearance, bagworms often go unnoticed until the infestation is extensive. Many homeowners are unaware of the presence of bagworms until the pest is in enormous numbers. The caterpillars often build their homes on top of trees or other plants, allowing them to grow unobserved for months or even years.

      A plant health care expert can identify a bagworm infestation by finding the telltale silk bags with small pieces of host plant material attached to them. These bags can be any color, from white to brown, typically ranging from 1/2 inch to 3 inches long. Bagworm larvae live inside these protective linings during their development stages.

      Controlling & Removing Bagworms

      Luckily, several methods can be used to prevent infestations from occurring in your yard. First, the process involves removing the bags from the trees and bushes. Many homeowners can be anxious or nervous about removing the bags, so working with a plant health care specialist is ideal. After removing the bags, the PHC specialist will spray the plants with a combination of soap, oil, or insecticide and repeat this process to remove any remaining larvae.

      Second, a plant health care expert can use insecticides to kill the bagworms in your trees and bushes. The insecticide must contain specific chemicals to eliminate and reduce bagworm populations effectively. The best time to spray is during the early morning hours when temperatures are cool.

      bagworm damage on blue spruce tree | Burkholder PHC

      Contact Burkholder PHC for Help Controlling Bagworms

      Bagworms can be a significant issue for homeowners and their plants. If you want to keep your landscape safe from them, reach out to Burkholder PHC. Our arborists will conduct a plant health care evaluation and diagnosis of your landscape and inform you of your treatment options. Burkholder PHC provides no-cost identification of the situation in addition to free testing, diagnostics, inspections, and evaluations. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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      Cottony Camellia Scale Insects: A Threat to Pennsylvania’s Plants

      Scale insects are small, sap-sucking pests that can cause significant damage to a wide variety of plants. Among these pests, cottony camellia scales (Pulvinaria floccifera) are particularly troublesome for gardeners and homeowners in Pennsylvania. In this blog post, we explore the characteristics, damage, and effects of this invasive insect on local plants and how to control them using horticultural oils and other methods.

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      What are Cottony Camellia Scale Insects?

        Cottony camellia scales are soft scale insects that infest many plants, including hydrangea, maple, and English ivy. These insects are characterized by their oval, yellow-brownish bodies with a waxy coating and can grow up to ⅛” (3 mm) in length. Another distinctive characteristic is cottony white masses that the insects produce to protect their eggs, which the females lay on the underside of leaves. Cottony camellia scales typically have one generation per year, with eggs hatching in late spring or early summer. addition, the females lay these egg masses on the underside of leaves.

        Damage Caused by Cottony Camellia Scale Insects

        When scales infest a plant, they feed on the sap, weakening the plant and causing leaves to turn yellow and drop. Feeding on the sap can also stunt the plant’s growth and leave it vulnerable to diseases. In addition, these insects excrete a sticky substance called honeydew during feeding, which attracts ants and promotes the growth of sooty molds. These molds can further weaken the plant by blocking sunlight from reaching its leaves.

        • One leaf with Cottony Camellia Scale Insects | Burkholder PHC

          cottony-camellia-large-leaf-burkholderphc

        • Leaves with Cottony Camellia Scale Insects egg mass | Burkholder PHC

          cottony-camellia-on-leaf-burkholderphc

        • Tree Leaves with Cottony Camellia Scale Insects and egg mass| Burkholder PHC

          cottony-camellia-under-leaf-burkholderphc

        Pennsylvania Plants Affected

        In Pennsylvania, cottony camellia scale insects have been found on various affected plants, including hydrangea, maple, mulberry, and pittosporum. The damage scale insects cause can be particularly severe in ornamental plants, reducing their aesthetic value and potentially killing them if left untreated.

        Controlling Cottony Camellia

        One effective method for controlling cottony camellia scale insects is horticultural oils. These oils are applied directly to the affected plant, smothering the insects and their eggs. Horticultural oils have several advantages over traditional pesticides, including being less toxic to beneficial insects and having a lower risk of causing pesticide resistance.

        In addition to horticultural oils, other control methods for cottony camellia scale insects include pruning infested branches and encouraging the presence of natural predators, such as ladybugs and lacewings. Regular monitoring and early intervention are crucial to preventing severe infestations and maintaining healthy plants.

        Cottony camellia scale insects pose a significant threat to Pennsylvania’s plants. However, we can minimize the damage that these pests cause with proper plant health care.

        Contact Burkholder PHC for Scale Insect Treatment

        If you suspect your plants may be infested with cottony camellia scales or other insects, contact Burkholder PHC for more information or to schedule a consultation. Our team of qualified plant health care experts has years of experience managing and controlling pest populations. We are here to help you protect your plants and keep your landscape healthy and vibrant.

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        What You Need to Know About Japanese Beetles

        As part of our ongoing series on invasive insects, this article focuses on Japanese beetles, a significant concern for homeowners and gardeners due to their destructive impact on over 300 species of ornamental plants. This article will discuss the characteristics, life cycle, and damage caused by Japanese beetles in Pennsylvania. We will also explore various control methods and offer tips for preventing infestations.

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        How Japanese Beetles Came to Pennsylvania

        Japanese beetles (Popillia japonica) are invasive insects native to Japan, as the name implies. The Japanese beetle was introduced into the U.S. in 1916 near Riverton, New Jersey, and likely arrived in the United States on ornamental nursery stock. The pest soon spread throughout the eastern United States, being detected on the west coast as early as the 1940s. Since then, the pest has spread throughout much of North America, affecting most states and Canada.

        Japanese Beetle Appearance

        Adult Japanese beetles are about one-half of an inch long with a shiny metallic green body and copper-colored wing covers, and their neck, head, and legs are reddish-brown. The adult beetles also have two patches of white hairs at the tip of their abdomen and five tufts of white hairs on both sides of their abdomen. In addition, adult beetles often have orange wing tips, which show when they are flying to escape predators or when disturbed. The larvae, or grubs, are creamy-white with brown heads and three pairs of legs on the thorax region (where the wings and legs attach to the main body).

        Japanese Beetle on a leaf | Burkholder PHC
        Japanese Beetle Damage | Burkholder PHC

        Japanese Beetle Damage

        Beetle Life Cycle

        The beetle’s life cycle is completed in approximately one year in Pennsylvania. Female beetles lay eggs in the soil under host plants in late June through mid-August. Then, the beetle larvae will hatch after two weeks and feed on grass roots until winter. Japanese beetles spend the winter buried in the ground, moving towards the surface as the spring season approaches and the weather gets warm. During this time, the larvae will continue to feed on grass roots until they mature, usually from late May through June.

        From late June to July (around June 20 in the southern areas of Pennsylvania), the larvae will have matured into adult beetles and emerge from the ground. While Japanese beetles begin emerging from the soil around late June, the pests are most abundant during July. When mating, female beetles lay around 40-60 eggs in the soil, where the life cycle repeats.

        As mentioned previously, the beetles feed on more than 300 species of host plants, from ornamental plants to even fruit and crops. The larvae only feed on grass roots, while the adult beetles feed on a much more extensive range of plants. Some common ornamental plants the pest feeds on include roses, flowering cherries, marigolds, and birch—adult beetles damage plants by “skeletonizing” the foliage. “Skeletonizing” means that the beetles consume only the leaf material between the veins. As a result, these leaves may turn brown and eventually fall off.

        Adults feed during the day and tend to favor hot weather and plants growing with total exposure to the sun. The larvae, meanwhile, damage lawns by chewing grass roots, causing the turf to brown and die. The result is that the turf pulls up easily from the soil, or dead patches of grass form if the problem is severe.

        Japanese Beetle Treatment & Management

        Our plant health care specialists have a specific treatment program for managing the beetles and protecting your plants. For example, one pest management treatment method for Japanese beetle populations in a landscape is pesticide application.

        Methods for controlling and eliminating Japanese beetles include:

        • Biological approaches: Introducing natural predators, such as parasitic wasps or flies, can help control beetle populations.
        • Chemical approaches: Pesticide applications by plant health care specialists can manage beetle infestations and protect plants.
        • Cultural approaches: Removing rotting tree fruit and maintaining a healthy lawn can help prevent beetle infestations.

        Traps are also available, but the trapping method is used more as a monitoring tool to measure the extent of pest presence of the pest. Traps use floral lures or female pheromones to attract beetles, so the traps could attract more beetles to your landscape. Like the pesticides, these traps should be handled by a professional plant health care specialist to ensure that they are used correctly.

        Japanese Beetles on a tree | Burkholder PHC

        Contact Burkholder PHC for Japanese Beetle Treatment in Your Landscape

        Japanese beetles can be a significant issue for homeowners, as the beetles negatively affect the appearance and health of their plants and lawn. If you have plants that show signs of the pest’s activity or want to keep your landscape safe from them, reach out to Burkholder PHC. Our team will conduct a plant health care evaluation and diagnosis of your landscape and inform you of your treatment options. We provide no-cost identification of the situation in addition to free testing, diagnostics, inspections, and evaluations. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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        What You Need To Know About the Spotted Lanternfly

        What is the spotted lanternfly? If you live in Pennsylvania, you have probably already seen this insect. The spotted lanternfly (lycorma delicatula or SLF) is an invasive species native to China and Southeast Asia.

        The pest was discovered in Pennsylvania in 2014, specifically Berks County, and has spread throughout Pennsylvania and neighboring states: north to Massachusetts, south to North Carolina, and west to Indiana and Michigan (See the Spotted Lanternfly distribution map for the mid-Atlantic area). The spotted lanternfly feeds on and damages many different plant species.

        Many homeowners have reported sightings and damage from this pest, both direct damage by feeding and secondary damage due to excessive sooty mold formation on lanternfly excrement (honeydew). As part of our series on invasive insects, here is what you need to know and what you can do if you spot the colorful insect around your property.

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        What You Need to Know About the Spotted Lanternfly

        As of 2023, the spotted lanternfly is reported to be found in 51 Pennsylvania counties and can build to astounding numbers when left unmanaged. While many Pennsylvania residents have spotted this invasive species on their landscapes, we have some information to help those who want to keep their landscape free from invasive insects.

        Appearance

        Adult spotted lanternflies can be identified by their coloration and bodies. The insect has grayish wings with black spots; the tips are black and gray, while the bodies are black. When flying, spotted lanternflies will show vibrant red hind wings. Adults are around 1 inch long and a half-inch wide with wings folded. They can jump several feet when startled or approached.

        You can also identify the pest via their egg masses or nymph stage. Egg masses are typically found on tree bark on the underside of scaffold branches and occasionally on other smooth surfaces such as rocks, outdoor furniture, and even vehicles. The mass is usually around 1 inch long and a half to three-quarters of an inch wide, with a gray-brown, mud-like covering.

        Spotted lanternfly nymphs are much smaller than adults, only about 1/8 to 1/2 an inch long (depending on instar: a phase between two periods of molting in the development of an insect larva or other invertebrate). However, nymphs have distinct coloration: initially black with white spots and wingless, developing red patches/red patches and white spots as they mature.

        Spotted lanternfly on leaf | spotted lanternfly | Burkholder Brothers
        Spotted lanternflies clustered on tree | spotted lanternfly | Burkholder Brothers

        Behavior & Problems

        Spotted lanternflies feed on plant sap, and at a high population, this can cause significant damage to an area’s plant life. While known to feed on over 70 different plants, spotted lanternflies have strongly preferred the tree of heaven (ailanthus altissima), grapevines, maple trees, black walnut, birch, willow, and styrax.

        Feeding on tree and plant sap can cause wilting, leaf curling, and dieback. In addition, as the SLF feeds on plant sap, the insect excretes a sugary substance called “honeydew,” which can attract bees, wasps, and other insects, and promotes the growth of sooty mold, which causes further damage to plants.

        Here are the months each life stage occurs to help you better identify the plant pest on your property.

        Egg masses: The invasive pest usually lays eggs from September to November, and lanternflies spend the winter as eggs.

        Nymphs: Nymphs will first hatch around May to June and mature until around July to September.

        Adults: July to September is when most spotted lanternflies have matured into adults; mating and egg-laying can continue until December.

        The insect has become so prevalent that Pennsylvania has put affected counties under quarantine to stop the movement and slow the insect’s spread to new areas within or out of the current quarantine zone. The quarantine involves traveling and transporting outdoor items.

        What You Can Do

        If you see any spotted lanternfly or signs of its damage on your property, contact Burkholder Plant Health 

        Care (PHC). Burkholder PHC treats for spotted lanternflies as part of our plant health care program. Our plant health care program emphasizes proper diagnosis and precise treatment, using only state-of-the-art, research-backed methods and equipment. We also utilize various pest management and control processes to protect your landscape from invasive, harmful pests.

        Learn About The Spotted Lanternfly Quarantine in PA

        Additional Spotted Lanternfly Resources

        For more information about spotted lanternfly issues in Pennsylvania, you may wish to visit the following resource links.

        Cooperative State Program Homepage

        Cooperative State Program Map

        Pennsylvania Quarantine Details/Updates

        Pennsylvania Quarantine Map

        Mid-Atlantic SLF Distribution Map

        Contact Burkholder Brothers for Plant Health Care Services

        If you want to keep your landscape beautiful, healthy, and free of spotted lanternfly, contact Burkholder PHC for a consultation. Our team of plant health care professionals has decades of experience helping homeowners keep their landscapes as healthy and vibrant as possible. In addition, we have up-to-date knowledge of the latest plant health care methods, from pest control to soil care and more. For more information on our services, contact us today.

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        What Is Boxwood Leafminer?

        Boxwood leafminer is a common pest that affects boxwood shrubs. These pests appear as tiny flies on the undersides of boxwood leaves and cause significant damage to boxwood shrubs by feeding on the leaf tissue. The species was first reported as a pest in the United States in 1910 and is now found across the United States wherever boxwood grows.

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        Boxwood Leafminer Appearance

        Adult boxwood leafminers are small, less than 1/16 inch long, have a yellowish-orange coloration, and are similar to gnat-like flies. These leafminers have two pairs of wings and six long, thin legs. The eggs are white to transparent and hatch into small whitish or lemon-yellow 3mm long larvae or maggots. These larvae initially lack any legs, but they gain legs as they age.

        Boxwood Leafminer Life Stages

        The life cycle of boxwood leafminer is broken down into four stages: egg, larva (or maggot), pupa, and adult.

        1. Egg: Females lay eggs on the undersides of leaves in summer. They hatch into larvae within about two days. On average, females lay around 29 eggs and die soon afterward. The eggs take anywhere from 14-21 days to hatch.
        2. Larvae: Larvae emerge from the eggs after hatching. Then the larvae feed on the leaves the remainder of summer through early fall. Larvae pupate in late winter.
        3. Pupa: Pupating is a stage when insects transition from larvae to adults. Eventually, the leafminers emerge in May.
        4. Adult: Adult leafminers mate soon after emerging and the females deposit their eggs in new foliage by thrusting a curved needle-like ovipositor through the lower surface of the leaf, and the cycle repeats.

        Boxwood Leafminer Damage

        The boxwood leafminer damages the leaves by laying eggs on them, which, as mentioned previously, hatch into larvae that feed on the leaves until maturing into adults. The laying of the eggs and the larvae feeding on the upper and lower leaf surfaces causes leaf blisters on the infested leaves. These blisters can become discolored and leaf drop may result.

        Homeowners may see premature leaf drop (when green leaves turn brown before falling off), stunted growth, and yellow spots in some areas where leafminers have been feeding.

        Managing & Controlling Boxwood Leafminer

        To manage and control infestations, a plant health care professional needs to identify the presence of leafminers by examining a property. Once identified, our expert can prune and dispose of heavily infested branches to prevent the spread of the infestation.

        square image of boxwood leafminer damage | Burkholder PHC

        Systemic insecticides, soaps, and horticultural oils can effectively control leafminers. These pesticides and insecticides should be cautiously applied.

        Because these pesticides can have adverse side effects on other plants or beneficial insects, a plant health care expert should be the one using these treatments. In addition, proper cultural practices, such as regular pruning, fertilization, and irrigation, can help prevent and minimize boxwood leafminers’ impact.

        Contact Burkholder Brothers for Plant Health Care Services

        If you want to keep your plants healthy and prevent the damage boxwood leafminer populations can cause, contact Burkholder PHC for a consultation. We are a team of certified professionals with decades of experience caring for and maintaining healthy plants and trees for Main Line residents. In addition, we have up-to-date knowledge of the latest and best practices on plant health care and pest control methods. For more information on our services, contact us today.

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        Invasive Insects: Introduction

        Invasive insects can be a threat to your lawn and home. In addition to disrupting or harming residential landscapes, many invasive pests negatively impact local environments if these insects spread and reproduce. Therefore, pest management is crucial to protecting landscapes and preventing these species from damaging lawns as much as possible. This article will highlight how these insects can spread and which species we will discuss in future articles.

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        How Invasive Insects Spread

        Insects can spread in several different ways. Some species can fly long distances, while others rely on the movement of infested materials such as plants or wood products. Movement of infested materials can involve humans or animals carrying them from place to place on their bodies or clothing and through contaminated food or water. In some cases, invasive insects may be carried along with other products, such as fruit trees and lumber logs, known as “hitchhiking.” Some invasive species may even travel across oceans by hitching rides on boats.

        Spotted Lanternfly

        The spotted lanternfly is an insect introduced to the United States in 2014, native to China and India, that has since spread to 14 states including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, and Delaware. The spotted lanternfly feeds on various tree species, including fruit trees like apples and grapes and hardwood trees like maples and willows. This pest leaves scars on leaves by feeding on them, which can interfere with photosynthesis. Other damages caused by the spotted lanternfly include dead shoots at the ends of branches, dieback or defoliation, reduced tree growth rates, and increased susceptibility to disease outbreaks.

        Spotted lanternfly on plant | Invasive insects | Burkholder PHC

        Emerald Ash Borer

          An emerald ash borer is a metallic green beetle that feeds on ash trees. The insect was first discovered in the United States in Michigan in 2002 and has since spread to at least 30 states. Emerald ash borer has killed tens of millions of ash trees in the United States. The wood-boring beetle infests ash trees and feeds on the inner phloem, cambium, and outer xylem, causing crown dieback, bark deformities, D-shaped exit holes, woodpecker feeding holes, and yellowing foliage.

          Japanese Beetle

          The Japanese beetle is an invasive insect species that feeds on the roots of turfgrasses found in home lawns, golf courses, and athletic fields. This species of beetle has a striking appearance. The head and thorax are metallic green, the abdomen is metallic green with black spots, and the legs are dark green.

          japanese beetle on chewed leaves | Invasive insects | Burkholder PHC

          Balsam Woolly Adelgid

          Balsam woolly adelgids are small wingless insects that infest and kill fir trees, mainly balsam fir and Fraser fir (common Christmas trees). The adelgid feeds on the tree’s needles, causing them to turn brown, die off and fall off the tree prematurely. Balsam woolly adelgids are native to Europe and were first detected in North America around 1900. Since then, they have spread across the United States and have caused extensive damage to mature stands of balsam fir trees.

          Contact Burkholder PHC for Invasive Pest Treatment & Removal

          If you are concerned about invasive insects harming your landscape and want to keep your property safe, contact Burkholder PHC. We provide a free evaluation from our highly experienced, qualified plant health care experts to help remove and control various invasive insect species and any adverse effects these pests may cause. Contact Burkholder PHC today for a free consultation.

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          What Are Soil Amendments?

          Soil amendments are products added to the soil to improve soil’s physical, chemical, or biological properties. Some of these properties that amendments are used for include increasing soil fertility or water-holding capacity and decreasing compaction or erosion. Soil amendment differs from fertilizer by modifying the condition of the soil itself, whereas fertilizer adds nutrients to the soil.

          There are also 2 general categories that soil amendments fall under: organic and inorganic.

          Organic soil amendments are composed of materials that were previously living matter. In contrast, inorganic amendments are made of mined or artificially created materials.

          Some organic materials used in soil amendments include:

          • Wood chips
          • Grass clippings
          • Compost
          • Manure
          • Sawdust

          A few examples of inorganic materials include:

          • Lime
          • Gypsum
          • Rock powders

          Burkholder spray rig- Soil amendments -Burkholder PHC

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          When Should Soil Amendment Be Used?

          One reason to use soil amendments is to alter the soil’s pH. The soil’s pH level needs to be within a specific range to give plants adequate access to nutrients. For example, some plants prefer more acidic soil, while others thrive in more alkaline soil. You will need to have a plant health care specialist test your soil to determine its current pH and what treatment is required to help your plants’ health.

          Regarding the time of year, soil amendments can be applied at any time, but the ideal times are early spring or late fall. This is because soil amendments are more easily incorporated when the soil is bare and dry. If you apply them in the spring, they will be more effective at helping your plants grow because you will be fertilizing your plants and improving the soil. When soil amendments are applied in the fall, they will have time over winter to break down and become part of the soil before you plant again in spring. The types of soil amendments used also differ depending on the season.

          Rake in Soil | Plant Health Care Soil Amemdments by Burkholder PHC

          Spring Soil Amendment

          During spring, we recommend a potassium-only fertilizer with the necessary nutrients. This helps improve the plant’s resistance to stress factors such as disease pressure, extreme temperature fluctuations, and drought conditions. In addition, this systemic nutrient formulation stimulates health and vigor without triggering excess physical growth.

          Fall Soil Amendment

          During the fall, plants absorb and store nutrients for the initial spring growth period. As a result, supplying the nutrients often lacking in landscape soils is vital. We fertilize with a slow-release fertilizer to ensure the availability of essential macro and micronutrients. This amendment also gives plants and trees the sustenance necessary for healthy growth and resistance to insects, disease, and harsh environmental conditions.

          Benefits of Soil Amendment

          One of the benefits is restoring your soil’s pH balance. If the pH balance of the soil is too high or low, certain nutrients (potassium, nitrogen, and other elements) become more difficult or less available for plants to absorb, which can negatively impact the health of the plants. As a result, plant health care experts will use soil amendments to modify the soil’s pH balance.

          Some of the other benefits of soil amendments include the following:

          • Organic materials in soil amendments help encourage plant growth.
          • Soil amendments help improve aeration, prevent soil compaction, allow air to flow more freely, and improve the soil’s drainage.
          • Organic soil amendments can improve certain soils by improving the soil’s ability to store nutrients and water.

          Contact Burkholder PHC for Soil Care Services

          plants growing in dark soil | soil amendment | Burkholder  PHC

          If you want to keep your plants and trees healthy with soil amendments, contact Burkholder PHC. We offer many plant health care services in addition to soil care, such as plant growth regulators, plant pest control, and more. In addition, our team of specialists has years of experience maintaining the health and vibrancy of landscapes in the Main Line area. For more information about our services, request a free consultation today.

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