Insects are an integral part of our natural environment. Many are beneficial to man, such as those that pollinate flowers, vegetable and fruits. Others, like mosquitoes, are very annoying to people, and can carry disease. At times, even beneficial insects can become a nuisance.
Information about several such insects are included in this section.
Boxelder Bugs Many people have noted swarms of boxelder bugs on the outside of homes, particularly during the fall. Boxelder bugs feed on the female flowers, fruits, foliage and tender twigs of its preferred host, boxelder, but also may feed on other maples, ash and even apple, grape and plum. In the fall they swarm toward houses looking for suitable hibernation sites and will congregate in large numbers.
Resources For more information about Boxelder Bugs and how to control them, check out the following links:
Recently a new insect pest was found to be attacking ash trees in southeast Michigan. This pest, known as the emerald ash borer, is an exotic species previously unknown in North America. In southeast Michigan, trees in the landscape, in nurseries and in wooded areas have been detected with infestations of the borer. Usually their presence goes undetected until the trees show symptoms of being infested - typically the upper third of a tree will die back first, followed by the rest the next year. This is often followed by a large number of shoots or sprouts arising below the dead portions of the trunk. Its host range is limited to species of ash trees in Michigan.
Quarantine Action Since this pest is highly destructive, the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development has placed a quarantine on ash trees and tree parts to prevent further spread. The quarantine only applies to those counties where the pest has been found. The EAB quarantine area was last expanded as of October 31, 2005. Please visit the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development web site for the most current quarantine area delineation.
What is Affected? Specifically, the quarantine prohibits movement of ash trees, limbs, firewood, logs, and untreated ash lumber to areas outside of the specified regulated counties. The quarantine provides the conditions for movement of regulated articles, however, there are currently few options available to certify ash for movement outside of regulated areas. At this time treatment options for ash logs and lumber include fumigation or kiln drying only. Additional treatments may be permitted once there is evidence of their effectiveness.
Ash Utilization Options Project The Southeast Michigan Resource Conservation and Development Council implemented a grant from the U.S. Forest Service to help address the Emerald Ash Borer problem in a positive way. The project demonstrated how the woody material (logs, limbs and bark) created in implementing the quarantine can be recycled into products, thus reducing the amount of material requiring disposal.
Description The emerald ash borer adult is dark metallic green in color, 3/4 inch in length and 1/16 inch wide. Larvae are creamy white in color and are found under the bark. The adult beetles typically make a D-shaped exit hole when they emerge.
Resources More information on the emerald ash borer is available by calling the state's toll-free Emerald Ash Borer Hotline at 866-325-0023. Or, check out the following:
Pollinator Insects Pollinating insects play a critical role in maintaining natural plant communities and ensuring production of seeds in most flowering plants. Pollination is the transfer of pollen from the male parts of a flower to the female parts of a flower of the same species, which results in fertilization of plant ovaries and the production of seeds. The main insect pollinators by far are bees, and while European honey bees are the best known and widely managed pollinators, there are also hundreds of other species of bees, beetles, butterflies, moths and other insects, that contribute some level of pollination services to crops and are very important in natural plant communities.