Damaging Insects

in—or coming soon to—Hillside Woods

Adult deer ticks

Invasive Jumping Worm

While earthworms seem harmless, this invasive species of worm, originally from Japan and Korea, lives in the uppermost layer of soil and voraciously consumes all organic material there. It turns decaying matter into a friable mess, eroding the soil and making it difficult for seeds to take root. In addition, jumping worm frass (excrement) contains calcium carbonate, which raises soil’s pH. This can be deadly for some native plant species such as oak trees and azaleas, and favors certain invasive plant species.

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Ticks in Westchester County can carry Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis/anaplasmosis and babesiosis. The most common disease caused by tick bites is Lyme disease, carried by about 30 percent of deer ticks. Lyme disease can cause a rash in the shape of a bulls-eye and typically causes flu-like symptoms at first; if left untreated it can cause severe chronic illness. Anaplasmosis and babesiosis cause similar symptoms: fever, night sweats, fatigue, body aches, and chills. To prevent getting bitten by a tick, wear insect repellent containing deet everywhere on the neck and below. After going outside, always check yourself for ticks!

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Emerald ash borer

The Emerald Ash Borer is an invasive beetle that likely came from Asia. Their larvae feed on the inner bark of ash trees, disrupting the trees' ability to transport water and nutrients. Since its arrival in 2002, the Emerald Ash Borer has killed hundreds of millions of ashes and caused property owners, loggers, and nursery owners to lose hundreds of millions of dollars. Emerald Ash Borers are found in 35 states in the U.S.'s east, south, and midwest. The ash trees in Hillside Woods are infected.

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Spotted lanternfly

This emerging threat is devastating Pennsylvania and is making its way north. IF YOU SEE IT, TELL US! When it gets here, it will eat our trees.
Handy I.D. guide from NYS DEC.

Chinese mantids

The Chinese Mantis was introduced to America over a century ago to control pests. Unfortunately, this invasive insect is an indiscriminate predator, efficient at killing all manner of insects. Twice the size of European and native mantises, it can even take down small birds such as hummingbirds and small passerines. Female mantises eat their male counterparts, which, while gruesome, helps control their abundance.

More on mantises and birds

Asian ladybeetle

Unlike ladybugs, the Asian lady beetle can do more harm than good. This invasive insect invades homes and congregates inside. It leaves behind a yellow stain with an unpleasant odor. They can bite, and can be a problem for dogs. Asian lady beetles are able to multiply quickly, so it is important to address them immediately if they invade your home.

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Hemlock woolly adelgid

As its name suggests, this insect attacks hemlocks, which are vital trees for moose, black bears, salamanders, and migrating birds. It is most damaging to Eastern hemlock, which is the most common species of hemlock in New York State. Woolly adelgids are tiny, averaging about 1.5 mm. They can be identified by the white puffy dots they leave at the base of needles. Affected needles will first turn grey and then fall off the tree.

The hemlocks in Hillside Woods (of which there are few) have been infested.

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Asian longhorned beetle

This invasive, wood-boring beetle feeds on birch, maple, elm, ash, poplar, horse chestnut, and willow trees. Locally, isolated sightings have been recorded in NYC and Long Island. NYS DEC is eager to prevent any further spread. Area maples are especially vulnerable.

To help stop the spread of Asian Longhorned Beetles, limit moving untreated firewood more than 50 miles, and learn to know how to identify its presence by clicking the link below.

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