Robinia leaf miner

Michael Gochfeld gochfeld at
Wed Sep 6 21:20:35 EDT 2000

At the risk of posting two beetle items in a row: 

I grew up in northern Westchester County, New York, in a house 
surrounded by stately (perhaps an inappropriate term) Black Locusts that 
my grandmother planted in the late 1920's.  They are still there. 

Here in central New Jersey, Black Locusts comprise the only mature trees 
on our property. 

Therefore it was a shock this weekend, driving through Dutchess County, 
(southeastern) New York, to encounter endless stands of Black Locusts 
with dead leaves. I examined them and found evidence of total saturation 
(virtually 100% of the leaflets) by a leaf miner, which I later found 
out was a beetle, Odontota dorsalis (Thunberg).  This creature is 
apparently lethal to Black Locusts in the Ohio Valley and parts of 
southeastern U.S., and I never knew it was in the northeast.  Perhaps 
three mild winters in a row has allowed it to prosper.  

In this area in the 1950's we experienced the virtual extinction of 
wild Gray Birch by a leaf miner (a wasplet I believe).  So  the 
possibility of losing Black Locusts is very real.  I realize that this 
is often considered a weed tree, but that is another issue. 

Those of us for whom this Locust Miner is a new "pest" would be 
interested in the experience in areas where this miner has been endemic 
for a while. 

Michael Gochfeld

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