ST. LAWRENCE COUNTY, N.Y. (WWTI) — A new exotic pest has been found in St. Lawrence County, according to a press release from the State Department of Environmental Conservation.

In late September, the elm zigzag sawfly, or Aproceros leucopoda, was found for the first time in New York State.

According to DEC, the pest was found in three locations in St. Lawrence County, including the Wilson Hill Wildlife Management Area, Brasher State Forest and Lost National State Forest.

The elm zigzag sawfly is native to East Asia, but was found in southern Quebec in 2020. The pest feeds exclusively on elm trees and can cause severe defoliation, branch dieback and crown thinning.

Once introduced to an area, the elm zigzag sawfly can fly up to 56 miles in a year or further when assisted by wind currents. The sawfly reproduces asexually and each female can lay up to 60 eggs at a time, making it easy for the pests to quickly establish themselves in new areas.

Surveyors found the pest by identifying its distinctive zigzag pattern that it leaves behind as larvae feeds on elm leaves.

DEC said at the time of the report, sawfly populations were at low levels, which can cause only minor damage.

However, the public is urged to report sightings of the elm zigzag sawfly through New York’s online reporting system.

More information on the pest can be found on the Invasive Species Centre website.