Termites and Dead Wood in Pine Plantations

A handful of the world’s 3,100 known termite species damage homes. In forests, however, termites are valuable. “Termites recycle dead wood,” says U.S. Forest Service research entomologist Michael Ulyshen. Termites consume as much as 20 percent of the dead wood in forests, as Ulyshen showed in 2014. “Dead wood exists at the interface between below…  More 

How Cold Is Too Cold for Redbay Ambrosia Beetles?

Nonnative redbay ambrosia beetles and the fungus they carry have killed hundreds of millions of trees in the Southeast since first detected in 2002. Currently, only cold temperatures limit the beetles’ establishment and spread in the eastern United States. A study led by Mississippi State University involving U.S. Forest Service researchers determined the coldest temperatures…  More 

The Thorny Economics of Preventing Exotic Species Introductions

What if we lose tree species we know, love, and need? It has happened before. “Look at what happened to the American chestnut,” says U.S. Forest Service research forester Thomas Holmes. “Look at what’s happening right now to hemlock, redbay, and ash trees.” All three species, as well as many more, are threatened by non-native…  More 

SRS Shares Science at BugFest

On September 17, more than 35,000 insect enthusiasts gathered at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh, NC. U.S. Forest Service employees were among them. As in years past, the Southern Research Station had a table at BugFest. Hundreds of children and adults stopped by to learn about SRS research and to see…  More 

SRS Researcher Receives Grant to Study White-Nose Syndrome

White-nose syndrome (WNS) has killed more than six million bats over the past decade. WNS is caused by the fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd). Studies show that bats eat enough insect pests to save the U.S. corn industry more than $1 billion a year in crop damage and pesticide costs, and more than $3 billion per…  More 

State Line Meeting with Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi

On August 17 and 18, state foresters from Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi, along with their staffs and personnel from the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS), gathered in Biloxi, MS. This was the third State Line Meeting for state foresters Wade Dubea of Louisiana and Charlie Morgan of Mississippi, and the first for Alabama State…  More 

One is the Deadliest Number

When the redbay ambrosia beetle, native to Asia, was first detected in coastal Georgia in 2002, it didn’t set off any alarm bells. “Ambrosia beetles rarely damage healthy trees, so this find was initially considered unimportant. But the subsequent epidemic of laurel wilt in the Southeast has caused a re-examination of the significance of these…  More 

Giant Stag Beetles

Up to 30 percent of all forest insect species depend on wood that is dead or dying. “Such species are among the most threatened insects in Europe,” says U.S. Forest Service scientist Michael Ulyshen. “However, very little is known about their diversity or conservation status in North America.” In the U.S., the giant stag beetle…  More 

Where Are the Southern Pine Beetles?

Between 2005 and 2015, only 18 counties in the southern U.S. experienced southern pine beetle outbreaks–fewer than two outbreak counties per year on average. U.S. Forest Service entomologist Chris Asaro wanted to know why and worked with two other Forest Health Protection scientists, John Nowak and Anthony Elledge, on a new review paper published in Forest…  More 

Unexpected Pest of Chestnut Trees

SRS research entomologist Bud Mayfield was relieved to find that defoliation on an American chestnut planting site was not as severe as expected. Mayfield and SRS research forester Stacy Clark are coauthors on a paper in the Journal of Insect Science that describes a study they conducted with Ashley Case, an adjunct lecturer at the University…  More