Since SWW has been recently introduced to Canada, studies about the complex interactions among insect spread and tree mortality are ongoing. Initial studies show that the SWW prefers weak trees with a small diameter over healthy, large ones and that silvicultural treatments may be effective at managing SWW populations and minimizing its impact (Dodds, et al., 2010).
Photo: Stanislaw Kinelski, Bugwood.org
SWW damage to Scots pine
Commercial industries surrounding pine trees are threatened. The mucus causes foliage to yellow and wilt while the fungus disrupts water movement; the combined effect of both the mucus and fungus often kills the host trees, depending on their condition and resistance, and assists the development of the SWW larvae (GISD, 2017). The United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service estimates that if the SWW becomes established nationwide, it would cost about $2.8 - $17 billion in lost timber and pulpwood (NYIS). A study published in 2008 by Yemshanov, et al. estimated the possible physical and economic impacts of SWW on standing pine biomass in eastern Canada. The study projected medium term losses of up to $254.1 million per year after 20 years (at time of publishing) in Ontario and Quebec (Yemshanov, et al., 2008).
The SWW has the potential to negatively impact wildlife, especially species that are dependent on pine trees as a habitat or food source. For example, the success of the endangered Kirtland’s warbler depends on sufficient jack pine habitat. In Michigan alone, federal and state agencies spend about $2.5 million yearly to manage jack pine stands for the endangered Kirtland’s warbler (Campbell, 2007). SWW could jeopardize this effort, and contribute to the species’ decline.
Photo: Joel Trick/USFWS
Male Kirtland’s warbler from Adams country,Wisconsin
It is important to note that economic loss could vary depending on the interactions among the insect, tree mortality, and forest harvest schedule (NRCan, 2012).
SWW host trees in many places are an important part of the landscape’s integrity, aesthetics, and recreational value.
The currently available monitoring traps and semiochemical combinations are considered to be generally ineffective (NRCan, 2012). A study by Haavik, et al. (2014) suggests that efficacy of traps could be improved with the use of different lures. Semiochemical baited traps are known to attract SWW, but an effective combination of attractants is yet to be determined (Boroczky et al. 2009, 2012; Cooperband et al., 2012 as cited in Haavik et al., 2014).
Respond & Control
Silvicultural management can effectively prevent or mitigate the impacts of a SWW infestation (Dodds, et al., 2010). Silvicultural management practices such as thinning a forest to minimize overcrowding, removing weakened or dying trees, and routine surveillance have been proven effective in mitigating the attacks of SWW in North America (Dodds at al., 2014).
Photo: Dennis Haugen, Bugwood.org
Silvicultural control: there is no apparent mortality in thinned section shown in the upper right corner of the photo
Chemical control for the SWW seems to be an option of concern due to the potential impacts on the environment and other organisms. There are no known effective compounds that are used for control SWW chemically.
The parasitic nematode, Deladenus siricidicola, has been found to be a successful biological control agent for the SWW in the southern hemisphere (Texas invasive species institute, 2014). The nematode sterilizes female wasps, causing them to lay infertile eggs and to spread the nematode populations wherever the eggs are laid. This nematode has been found in SWW in Canada (NRCan, 2012), but the strain is non-sterilizing in North America because it does not penetrate eggs (Yu et al. 2009 as cited in Haavik et al, 2016).
A native parasitic wasp, Ibalia leucopsoides, has been found to expand its host range to include SWW (NRCan, 2012). Studies are ongoing to identify SWW natural enemies in Canada and their effects on SWW populations.
|Photo: Ethan Angell, New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets, Bugwood.org
||Photo: William M. Ciesla, Forest Health Management International, Bugwood.org
Ibaliid wasp (Ibalia leucospoides)
Culture of parasitic nematode
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