NV Dept. of Agriculture needs public help in finding moth responsible for tree destruction

Defoliated trees caused by Satin Moth
Defoliated trees caused by Satin Moth
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Updated: 9/26/2012 3:22 pm
LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (KRNV & MyNews4.com) -- The Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDA) and the Nevada Division of Forestry (NDF) would like the publics help with detecting an insect recently found at Lake Tahoe.

The Satin Moth (Leucoma salicis) is an introduced exotic defoliator originally found in Europe and Asia. It was first detected in Massachusetts and British Columbia in the 1920’s. A small population of Satin Moths was reported in the Lake Tahoe Basin in the 1990’s but never developed into much of a population.

Recently, NDA and NDF staff found around 7 acres of poplars and willows defoliated in the Tahoe Basin. Also present were thousands moths emerging and laying eggs. The eggs laid then are now hatching. The resulting larvae will skeletonize leaves on aspen and willow trees, then move to the bark and spin a protective covering to overwinter in. The adult moths are all white except for the body which looks like it has black bands. They are about 1 ½ inches wide at full wing span.

In addition to Lake Tahoe, the Satin Moth has been reported in Little Valley (above west Washoe valley), Battle Mountain and Paradise Valley Nevada in poplars along the creeks. This insect’s repeated feeding on the foliage of poplars year after year can cause top kill or mortality. With the current drought conditions in Nevada, it is important that you water your poplars and willows going into Fall and Winter to help trees better withstand this defoliation.

If this insect or evidence of it are found, please contact Jeff Knight at 775 353-3767 or jknight@agri.nv.gov or Gail Durham 775-684-2513 or gdurham@forestry.nv.gov.

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