Invasive species aren’t new to New York State, and now the state is working to get rid of various species like hogweed, the spotted lanternfly, beech tree disease, and Japanese knotweed.
Invasive species are plants or insects that are not native to an area and can harm the environment.
This includes habitat loss, killing native fish, wildlife, trees, crops and hindering recreational activities.
Different species do different things, and each year certain ones flair up worse than others.
Hogweed, a terrestrial invasive species
Hogweed is an invasive plant species.
The plant contains poison that can cause burns, and according to the Times Union, an Invasive Strike Force crew is working to rid the Hudson Valley of the plant.
The team’s leader has shared that if they run out of time to clear the hogweed, they will adjust their schedules.
He prioritizes the elimination of hogweed.
The plant is dangerous not only because it could kill off other native species, but it’s harmful to humans.
Hogweed can grow as tall as 8 to 14 feet as a full grown adult plant.
The plant has a green hollow stem with purple spots and course white hair.
Leaves can be as large as five feet across.
The plant has been showing up the most in Otsego County, and has been completely taken out of Albany County.
The plant’s flowers bloom in June and July at the top of the plant and can grow to 18 inches across.
These flowers can cause major burns if they touch human skin, and the sunlight will only make them worse.
The team is working to completely remove the species from Ulster, Duchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, and Westchester counties.
Each year the team works to remove hogweed, and each year the number of plants has dropped down.
Plants must be removed before they produce seeds, which survive for years after being dispersed.
This means the site is watched for nine years.
After nine years of no new plants, the site is deemed clear of the invasive species.
Spotted lanternfly, a terrestrial invasive species
Cornell is working hard to slow the spread of spotted lanternflies in upstate New York.
The team working to stop the infestation from happening states their arrival will be happening, according to the Cornell Chronicle.
Their current goal is to reduce the speed at which the spotted lanternfly spreads, so once it arrives they have better tools to handle them.
The species is destructive, and has the capability of wiping out entire crops.
Grapes are a favorite of the insect, and if gone unmanaged, could harm the entire wine industry.
Teams work together to perform surveillance, early detection, eradication, outreach, and research.
These bugs first showed up in 2014 in Pennsylvania and have now spread to 11 states.
Populations have grown so large in some areas, like Pennsylvania, that they swarm.
Adults are starting to appear now, which makes them easier to see but also easier to move.
People are asked to squish the insect if they see it and not move it.
They should then contact the NYSDEC to report the sighting.
Michigan may soon see the spotted lanternfly
Officials in Michigan have warned residents to be on the lookout for the pest, according to Click On Detroit.
So far sightings have been confirmed in Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia this season.
Michigan has yet to spot the species.
While living ones haven’t been seen, there have been five cases of dead spotted lanternflies this year.
The insects were found in packaging materials or items that were shipped from other states with known sightings.
It’s important for people to be aware of the bugs and what their eggs may look like.
Eggs can be found on cars, outdoor furniture, or any surface.
If you do business with states that have known sightings, be sure to check your packaging well.
Now, Japanese knotweed has been added to the list of invasive species as it proves there are more problems than experts were previously aware of.
Japanese Knotweed is tall and leafy, often found along creeks and rivers, according to Lohud.
The plants are thick and look similar to bamboo.
They can easily hinder outdoor recreation.
In addition to being annoying, the plant can displace native species with roots below the soil.
A non-native species of worm has appeared to feed off the knotweed plants, later getting into streams and causing issues for the fish.
The plant arrived originally from Asia as a decorative plant and has rapidly spread.
Beech tree disease
The newest form of invasive species appears to be a disease with little known about it, killing off beech trees in New York.
What causes this disease is currently unknown, but researchers feel it could be a parasitic nematode, according to New York Upstate.
This is a small invasive worm that feeds on the cells of the leaves in a beech tree.
35 counties have trees that have been impacted, and the first case was discovered in 2018 in Chautauqua County.
Experts believe the disease is likely already in an area long before anyone notices it.
Beech trees dying has a major impact on the environment.
The trees provide protein and fat out of beechnuts for 40 different animals.
To help save beech trees, be aware of the signs and report them to the NYSDEC.
Signs include darker striping on leaves, sometimes heavily banded and crinkled if in the advanced stages.
While Michigan worries about the spotted lanternfly’s arrival, the beech tree disease has already made an appearance.
The disease was seen in St. Claire County, according to Bridge Michigan.