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Home » News » New York State: Handling nuisance and invasive species like beech leaf disease & spotted lanternflies

New York State: Handling nuisance and invasive species like beech leaf disease & spotted lanternflies

As summer continues, so do the nuisance and invasive species thriving in the warm weather across New York State, like the spotted lanternfly, killing things like beech trees and crops.

Spotted lanternfly found in New York, along with beech leaf disease and oak wilt, according to the DEC.

Last year the killer invasive species that took over was the Gypsy Moth, now known as the Spongy Moth.

The spotted lanternfly showed up last year as well, and this year is looking the same.

In addition to these invasive pests is a new disease attacking the state’s beech trees.

Beech trees across New York State are being killed due to a mysterious disease

The Times Union recently reported that the Department of Conservation shared information about an unknown disease killing beech trees across the state.

The disease has been located in 35 different counties in the state of New York.

The disease is being called “beech leaf disease” and no reports have shared exactly what it is.

The first appearance of the disease was in 2018 in western New York.

Later, it showed up on Long Island and in Westchester County.

There is no cure for this disease, and now it’s showing up in Herkimer County.

What do we know about the beech leaf disease so far?

The DEC believes that the disease may be associated with nematodes, which are small worms.

The worms feed off of beech leaves and buds.

Beech bark disease has already been attacking these trees, and this added on puts beech trees at risk.

While the bark disease is a threat, this new one is an even bigger one.

Both forests and trees in cities on the streets for decoration are at risk.

There is no treatment for the disease.

If infected, mature tree can die between six and ten years.

Saplings can die within two years.

While the worms are a suspected culprit, scientists aren’t certain a virus, bacteria, or fungus isn’t what’s killing them.

If you notice the disease on any trees in your general location, it’s asked that you report it to the DEC.

According to the DEC, the disease is most widespread in Suffolk and Westchester counties where reports are growing.

How can I identify beech leaf disease?

The biggest symptom to lookout for is darkened striping between the veins on the foliage.

They’re best seen when looking up through the canopy.

Leaves that have severe symptoms may be heavily banded, crinkled, and have a thick leathery texture.

There is no cure for the disease at this moment.

Spotted lanternflies are being seen again in New York State

The invasive species known as the spotted lanternfly has been seen again this summer.

Most recently, WGRZ reports that the pest has been spotted at Sunshine Park in West Seneca.

Cornell researchers have shared their concern over its appearance.

The concern stems from the spotted lanternfly’s ability to devastate entire crops.

When the bug was found in a vineyard in 2017, the vineyard was entirely dead in 2019.

The spotted lanternfly was first seen in 2014 and it is believed that it showed up in the U.S. in a shipment of landscaping rocks that came from China.

As the species slowly thrived, it was finally noticed in vineyards in 2017.

Another invasive species, a plant, that has showed up from China is the Tree of Heaven.

The spotted lanternfly feeds off the Tree of Heaven, but when they can’t eat that, they move onto grapes, fruit trees, and other crops.

This can impact the wine, beer and cider industries in the state.

Eggs hatch in May and June, with spotted lanternflies being fully mature by August and September.

Right now the bugs are just little and black with white dots, so they aren’t fully mature and bright red yet.

If you see one, you’re asked to squish it, leave it where you found it, take a photo, and report it to the Department of Agriculture.

Many residents on Staten Island have spotted the small black bugs on their trees, decks, and wires, according to

These are the newly hatched nymphs that come from the egg masses.

Other invasive species include Oak Wilt in New York State

Oak Wilt is a disease that can damage oak trees and presents itself as a fungus.

All oaks are in danger of contracting the disease, but red oaks die faster than white oaks, according to the DEC.

Water and nutrients are unable to reach the crown of the tree from the roots, so the leaves will fall off and the tree with die.

The disease acts quickly, killing red oaks within a few weeks to six months.

White oaks take years to die and do not typically spread the disease.

The first discovery of Oak Wilt was in Wisconsin in 1944, and has spread as far as Texas and the Midwest since then.

It’s origins are unknown.

The disease is spread in one of two ways.

One way is above ground by beetles, and the other is below ground through tree roots.

There are different symptoms of Oak Wilt.

A brown color may develop around the edges of oak tree leaves that work their way toward the center vein of the leaf.

Branch diebacks start at the top of a tree and works its way down.

Leaves may suddenly wilt and fall off in the spring and summer, losing up to half of their leaves.

Fungal spore mats can be seen under the tree bark.

Oak Wilt has been spotted in Middlesex, South Bristol, Glenville, Brooklyn, Canandaigua, and Suffolk County.

Quarantined districts may not remove oak logs or branches, or wood pieces from the districts.

What are the other nuisance and invasive species in the state of New York?

The DEC has shared what defines a nuisance or invasive species, as well as lists of what they are.

An invasive species is a species that is not native to an area and can cause the environment harm.

The can cause habitat loss, the loss of native fish, wildlife, trees, recreational activities, income, crops, and livestock.

Nuisance and invasive species include

Aquatic Invasive Species

  • Didymo, also known as rock snot
  • Hydrilla
  • Starry stonewort
  • Water chestnut
  • Chinese mitten crab
  • Northern snakehead fish
  • Sea lamprey
  • Spiny waterflea
  • Round Goby

Terrestrial Invasive Species

  • Giant hogweed
  • Slender false brome
  • Wild parsnip
  • Asian longhorned beetle
  • Emerald ash borer
  • Eurasian boar
  • Spongy moth
  • Hemlock woolly adelgid
  • Sirex woodwasp
  • Spotted Lanternfly
  • Southern pine beetle