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Managing Invasive Species


Sirex Woodwasp

Sirex WoodwaspSirex noctilio is a woodwasp native to Europe, Asia and northern Africa that has been inadvertently introduced into a number of countries in the southern hemisphere including: New Zealand, Australia, Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, Chile and South Africa. In 2005, a specimen of the woodwasp was identified from Fulton, NY. Subsequent surveys have found Sirex noctilio in five counties in upstate New York. In late 2005, Canada reported finding Sirex in four locations in Ontario, approximately 100 miles from the New York infestation. These are the first collections of this insect from established population in North America. In its native range, where it is generally considered to be a secondary pest, it attacks pines almost exclusively, e.g., Scots, Austrian, and maritime pines. In the southern hemisphere the insect has caused significant mortality in plantations of North American pines, especially Monterey pine and loblolly pine. A recent USDA Forest Service economic analysis of the potential impact of Sirex if left unchecked as it spreads through the pines of the southeastern US estimated $2 billion would be lost assuming just 10% mortality by this insect.

  • Sirex noctilio is an invasive, non-native pest that is a woodwasp native to Europe and Asia that has been introduced into New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay and Argentina. The first Sirex specimens in North America were found in traps in New York in 2005.
  • Delimiting surveys conducted by USDA and New York have found specimens or infested trees in five counties in central upstate New York. Canada has recently reported finding Sirex in traps in southern Ontario about 100 miles from the New York infestation.
  • In other countries where this species has been introduced, it has caused up to 80% mortality in plantation pines. An economic analysis of the impact on pine forests in the southern US, estimates a potential loss of more than $3 billion.
  • In FY 2006, S&PF funds were used to delimit the infestation in New York.
  • In FY 2007, funds will support detection surveys in New York and high risk areas in the northeast and south. Forest Service and USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service are working together to detect, control and potentially eradicate this insect.