Sarah Browning – Sprouts mark on oak trees

Sarah Brown for Lincoln Journal Star

Each summer, unusual species of insects appear in many landscapes. In fact, there is a small group of insects called snails or tree axes that do the same damage to different trees. Fortunately, these insects are not a serious problem and their activities do not have serious consequences for the trees. But when small twigs die at the tips of their branches, their presence can be seen.

In eastern Nebraska, oak is the main host, but these insects can be found in persimmon, pecan, elm, hickory, honeylocust, hackberry, poplar, linden, redbud, basswood, dogwood and various fruit trees.

Sprouts girdler

The most common tree robber in eastern Nebraska is Oncideres cingulata. Due to the length of the adult insect antennas, this group of insects is known as long beetles. They have one generation a year, and on maturity they are gray-brown, strong-bodied beetles, about three-quarters of an inch long. Adults appear in late summer from mid-August to early October.

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The female beetle chews through small twigs and lays its eggs in a wide-open canopy. She lays an egg on the branch of the tree she is armed with, which quickly cools, turns brown, and dies. Larvae, like cream-white, like boring, can’t live in healthy wood, but they do well in a dead branch even after it has fallen from the tree. When the twigs fall from the tree, a closer look at the cut off end of the branch looks like a beaver injury.


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