Moths of North Carolina
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Podosesia Members:
17 NC Records

Podosesia syringae (Harris, 1839) - Ash Borer Moth

Superfamily: Sesioidea Family: SesiidaeSubfamily: SesiinaeTribe: SynanthedoniniP3 Number: 640130.00 MONA Number: 2589.00
Comments: P. syringae is one of two species of Podosesia found in the state, both of which utilize ashes (Fraxinus spp.) as a food plant. The taxonomy of several groups in this family remains vexing, with some species undoubtedly complexes of several, as-yet undifferentiated species.
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984); Beadle and Leckie (2018)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIF, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Eichlin and Duckworth (1988)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: Sexes similar. Thorax brownish-black with red scales scattered above base of wings and immediately adjacent to abdomen. Abdomen brownish-black, constricted at the base, more so in males (Eichlin & Duckworth, 1988). In form that occurs in NC, segments 2-4 variably brownish-black or reddish. Anal tuft brownish-black, pointed. Forewing brownish-black, opaque but for a small hyaline area at base, red on basal margins. Hindwing hyaline with narrow, black margins. Terminal half of legs yellow, proximal half mixed red, yellow, and black, third pair long, dangled beneath body in slow, hovering flight in the manner of paper wasps. Antennae bicolored laterally, brownish-black and yellow-orange. Wing length 10-17 mm (Eichlin & Duckworth, 1988). Similar species: Very similar to closely related P. aureocincta, but that species has a complete or nearly complete yellow-orange band on anterior margin of segment 4 (Eichlin & Duckworth, 1988). Absolute specific differentiation, though, may require genitalic dissection.
Structural photos
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Larvae burrow into living wood of branches or trunk, where they mature and overwinter in tunnels. Pupation occurs in early spring (Taft, Smitley & Snow, 2004).
Distribution in North Carolina
County Map: Clicking on a county returns the records for the species in that county.
Flight Dates:
 High Mountains (HM) ‚Č• 4,000 ft.
 Low Mountains (LM) < 4,000 ft.
 Piedmont (Pd)
 Coastal Plain (CP)

Click on graph to enlarge
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Rural, urban, and forested areas and field edges where its food plants occur.
Larval Host Plants: Trees of the family Oleaceae, such as ash (Fraxinus), lilac (Syringa(/i>), and fringe-tree (Chionanthus) (Eichlin & Duckworth, 1988). - View
Observation Methods: Not attracted to lights but may visit flowers. Most easily seen by employing synthetic pheromone traps, to which males are strongly attracted (see Taft, Smitley, & Snow, 2004, for list of species-specific pheromone blends).
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks:
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: This species closely mimics a Polistes paper wasp in both appearance and behavior. P. syringae does not pose a threat to ash trees in North Carolina, given the prevalence of Fraxinus in the state. However, the arrival of the Emerald Ash Borer beetle (Agrilus planipennis) in the state in 2013 could potentially impact populations of P. syringae in the future. Also known as Lilac Borer.

 Photo Gallery for Podosesia syringae - Ash Borer Moth

Photos: 5

Recorded by: Richard Teper on 2021-04-27
Orange Co.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-05-25
Madison Co.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-05-25
Madison Co.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-05-25
Madison Co.
Recorded by: J.B. Sullivan on 2017-06-06
Ashe Co.