Saucer magnolia, Magnolia x soulangiana, blossoms are opening in northern Illinois. Refer to issue no. 1 of this newsletter for insect emergence and treatment periods associated with this phenological plant.
Painted hickory borer has emerged in central Illinois. This longhorned beetle is about 1 inch long and black, with W-shaped yellow and white lines on the back. It has long, obvious antennae and is very similar in appearance to the locust borer, a closely related insect that emerges in the late summer to early fall. Painted hickory borer attacks dead and dying trees, commonly emerging from firewood and dead branches of not only hickory but also many other species of Illinois forest trees. Because they do not attack healthy trees or healthy portions of trees, they are not considered to be pests.
Paper wasp, yellowjacket, and carpenter bee mated females are emerging from overwintering sites and will soon be starting their nests for the coming growing season. These insects overwinter in cracks and crevices of tree bark and under loose bark. You are likely to encounter them during tree pruning and removal activities. Particularly on cold mornings, they are likely to be sitting on the bark, warming in the morning sun. Due to being cold, they are sluggish and may not fly or crawl away. Crushing them with your hand is likely to result in a painful sting. For sensitive persons, even a single sting can be life-threatening. (Phil Nixon and Pat Toohill)