Dasineura gleditchiae (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae): an invasive species in Europe
Dasineura gleditchiae (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae – honeylocust podgall midge) is a pest of Gleditsia triacanthos (Fabaceae) originating from North America. It was introduced into the Netherlands in the 1970s, and it then spread to other European countries probably via the commercial exchanges of its host plant. With its rather rapid spread, D. gleditchiae is considered as an invasive species in Europe. Its host plant, Gleditsia triacanthos, is a North American tree which was introduced into Europe at the beginning of the 18th century for ornamental purposes. During the last decades, varieties without thorns have been increasingly planted across Europe in urban environments (along city streets, in parks and gardens), and apparently these thornless varieties are more susceptible to D. gleditchiae. The pest overwinters as pupae in the soil. Adult flies (1.2 to 1.8 mm long) emerge from pupae from March to June and are attracted to tree foliage. Females lay eggs on young leaves. Larvae feed on young leaflets causing green to purple pod-like galls. In autumn, larvae fall to the ground and pupate in the soil. There are 2 to 3 overlapping generations per year. Severe infestations can cause growth reduction, twig death and partial defoliation. From the literature, it does not seem that D. gleditchiae is a major pest requiring particular control measures. However, it is noted that destruction of galls, once fallen onto the ground, can reduce the pest populations and that insecticide treatments applied at bud break may be effective.
Although little information is available on the current situation of D. gleditchiae, its spread within the EPPO region could be retraced as follows:
- Netherlands in 1975 (first European record)
- Italy in 1980 (Toscana, Friuli Venezia-Giulia)
- United Kingdom in 1983
- Switzerland in 1990 (canton of Valais)
- Hungary in 1992 (near Budapest)
- Serbia in 1993
- Poland in 1994-1996
- Slovakia in 1995 (Nitra)
- Greece in June 1995 (in experimental orchards near Thessaloniki)
- Spain in 1996 (Madrid) but then no longer reported. However, in 2007 and 2008 it was observed for the first time in Andalucía (Sevilla and Cádiz) suggesting that it may be more widespread in Spain than originally thought.
- Luxemburg in 1997
- Germany in 1997 (observed by Spanish scientists in the city of Dresden but this could not be confirmed by other literature sources)
- Czech Republic in 1997
- Austria in 2000 (found in a tree nursery in Burgenland)
- France (several cases were reported from southwestern France in 2005 but the pest was probably present earlier)
- Turkey in 2005 (Ankara in parks and recreation areas – this was also the first record for Asia).
- Denmark in 2006
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