Invasive bug that threatens elm trees found in 2 NC counties, researchers say

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An invasive insect has been spotted in two different North Carolina counties, researchers say.

According to researchers at North Carolina State University, the elm zigzag sawfly was found in Surry and Stokes counties last month. It’s the first time the bugs have been found in the state, they said.

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The small green insect is native to Asia. As a larva, an elm zigzag sawfly only eats elms in a zigzag pattern that’s characteristic to the bug, researchers said. Because of that, it is capable of causing severe defoliation to elm trees.

The flies’ ability to reproduce multiple times a year combined with their ability to reproduce without a mate mean they can grow rapidly in number, researchers said.

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