Urban Forestry Resources: Monitoring for Insects and Diseases

Summer is the growing season for trees, and it’s also the active season for insect and disease pests that can threaten our community trees and ecosystems.  No area of the country is immune to invasive and destructive community forest pest threats. Whether it’s the western bark beetle, or emerald ash beetle, or thousand cankers disease, our trees are under attack.

Now is a great time to monitor for these threats and take action before it’s too late.  When it comes to proactively managing community forests, the adage “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is clearly appropriate.

If we don’t identify and properly manage insects and disease, we risk losing all the benefits trees provide us, and we allow safety risks to develop in our communities. Here’s just one example of the magnitude of impact insects can have on our trees, our cities, and our economy, as reported by the U.S. Forest Service: “ Wood- and phloem boring insects are anticipated to cause the largest economic impacts by annually inducing nearly $1.7 billion in local government expenditures and approximately $830 

million in lost residential property values.”

To find out more about the insect and disease threats in your city, county, state or region, visit the Forest Service’s Forest Health Mapping and Reporting portal.  Here you will find current maps, summary reports, and an extensive resource database on all insect and disease threats in the United States.

To learn more about correctly monitoring and diagnosing tree disease and insect issues, the Ohio State University’s Cooperative Extension published several guides on integrated pest management (IPM), and this particularly good guide, “20 Questions on Plant Diagnosis.”


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