DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — An invasive pest native to Asia is now being seen in Ohio.

The elm zigzag sawfly is a pest that is attracted to elm trees, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). Recently in Ohio, they have been discovered in Delaware and Franklin counties.

“Elm zigzag sawfly is an invasive insect native to Asia that was first found in Canada in 2020 and in multiple eastern U.S. states in 2021 and 2022,” ODNR Division of Forestry, Forest Health Program Manager Tom Macy said. “This is the first detection of the species in Ohio.”

ODNR describes the caterpillar-like insect as being a light green, and measuring up to one-half-inch long. The larvae moves in a zigzag movement. During the fall, the insects form cocoons on the ground in either leaf litter or soil.

“Adults are less commonly observed but are small (0.25″ in length), shiny black, and winged,” according to ODNR.

While the elm zigzag sawfly does not have a history of killing elm trees, they can cause “significant defoliation” to them.

If you believe you spot the invasive insect, there are steps you can take to let officials know:

  • Snap a photo
  • Notify ODNR Division of Forestry at 1-614-265-6694
  • Report the sighting here