Insect takes toll on local birch trees

by | Aug 22, 2012 | About GVEA, Rights of Way | 0 comments

Yellow, shriveled leaves a sign that your tree is infested

If your tree has been infested by the amber-marked birch leaf miner, you’ll know by looking at the leaves. “Yellow, blistered leaves this time of year are a good indication that the ABLM is present,” said Pat McArdle who heads up GVEA’s Right of Way Maintenance Program. “This doesn’t mean the tree is dead, though, so there’s no need to take drastic action.”

Pat McArdle, GVEA ROW Maintenance Superintendent and one of GVEA’s three certified arborists, points out the amber-marked birch leaf miner visible in birch trees along Illinois St.

The amber-marked birch leaf miner, an insect not native to Alaska, has been found on many birch trees in the Interior according to the University of Alaska Cooperative Extension Service (CES). They aren’t new this year, though. They’ve been around since at least 2004.

The best thing to do if you notice an ABLM infestation is work to keep the birch tree healthy. For example, rake underneath it in the fall and give it water from time to time.

The good news is ABLM activity generally runs its course in several years. Once local fauna picks up on them as a local food source, their activity will begin to decline.

Additionally, biocontrol – in the form of parasitic wasps that infect the larvae of the ABLM – has been implemented in the Fairbanks area. This form of biocontrol was successful in Anchorage.

For more information about the ABLM, check out this August 21 News-Miner article.


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Meadow Bailey


Ashley Bradish


Grace Wilson


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