Large-Scale Removal of Invasive Honeysuckle Decreases Mosquito and Avian Host Abundance
Invasive species rank second only to habitat destruction as a threat to native biodiversity. One consequence of biological invasions is altered risk of exposure to infectious diseases in human and animal populations. The distribution and prevalence of mosquito-borne diseases depend on the complex interactions between the vector, the pathogen, and the human or wildlife reservoir host. These interactions are highly susceptible to disturbance by invasive species, including terrestrial plants. We conducted a 2-year field experiment using a Before–After/Control–Impact design to examine how removal of invasive Amur honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii) in a forest fragment embedded within a residential neighborhood affects the abundance of mosquitoes, including two of the most important vectors of West Nile virus, Culex pipiens and Cx. restuans. We also assessed any potential changes in avian communities and local microclimate associated with Amur honeysuckle removal. We found that (1) removal of Amur honeysuckle reduces the abundance of both vector and non-vector mosquito species that commonly feed on human hosts, (2) the abundance and composition of avian hosts is altered by honeysuckle removal, and (3) areas invaded with honeysuckle support local microclimates that are favorable to mosquito survival. Collectively, our investigations demonstrate the role of a highly invasive understory shrub in determining the abundance and distribution of mosquitoes and suggest potential mechanisms underlying this pattern. Our results also give rise to additional questions regarding the general impact of invasive plants on vector-borne diseases and the spatial scale at which removal of invasive plants may be utilized to effect disease control.
KeywordsInvasive plants Culex pipiens Culex restuans Lonicera maackii Conservation West Nile virus
We thank Brit’nee Haskins, Reanna Kayser, Jackie Duple, Noor Malik, Chase Robinson, Jake Gold, and Kristen Chen for their assistance with mosquito trapping in 2014 and 2015. We gratefully acknowledge Stéphane Guerrier, James Balamuta, and Roberto Molinari for their analysis of the VPD time series data and Michael Ward for discussing the analysis of the bird abundance data. We thank the following individuals and organizations for their assistance with the honeysuckle removal during the winter of 2015: Jay Hayek, Tom Schmeelk, Natalie Pawlikowski, Andrew Mackay, Dan Swanson, Tanya Josek, Tyler Hedlund, Jocelyn Sullivan, Eric South, Brandon Lieberthal, the University of Illinois Extension Master Naturalists and Master Gardeners of Champaign County, the University of Illinois Entomology Graduate Students Association, the University of Illinois Crop Sciences Graduate Student Organization, and students in the University of Illinois Conservation Biology, Spring 2015 course. We thank Mahomet-Seymour High School and the Village of Mahomet, Illinois, for land use permission. This study was supported by a US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) STAR Graduate Research Fellowship to AMG, a University of Illinois Francis M. and Harlie M. Clark Summer Fellowship to AMG, an Illinois Natural History Survey Philip W. Smith Memorial Award for Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology to AMG, a University of Illinois Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment grant to BFA and EJM, and Illinois Waste Tire and Emergency Public Health Funds to EJM. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the US Department of Agriculture. The mention of firm names or trade products does not imply that they are endorsed or recommended by the US Department of Agriculture over other firms or similar products not mentioned; the USDA is an equal opportunity employer.
- Bibby CJ (2000) Bird census techniques, Philadelphia: ElsevierGoogle Scholar
- Darsie RF, Ward RA (1981) Identification and geographical distribution of the mosquitoes of North America, north of Mexico, Washington: Walter Reed Army Institute of ResearchGoogle Scholar
- Daszak P, Cunningham AA, Hyatt AD (2000) Emerging infectious diseases of wildlife – threats to biodiversity and human health. BioScience 287:443-449Google Scholar
- Delatte H, Gimonneau G, Triboire A, Fontenille D (2009) Influence of temperature on immature development, survival, longevity, fecundity, and gonotrophic cycles of Aedes albopictus, vector of chikungunya and dengue in the Indian Ocean. Journal of Medical Entomology 46:33-41CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Diuk-Wasser MA, Molaei G, Simpson JE, Folsom-O’Keefe CM, Armstrong PM, Andreadis TG. (2010) Avian communal roosts as amplification foci for West Nile virus in urban areas in northeastern United States. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 82:337-343CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Elias SP, Lubelczyk CB, Rand PW, Lacombe EH, Holman MS, Smith RP (2006) Deer browse resistant exotic-invasive understory: an indicator of elevated human risk of exposure to Ixodes scapularis (Acari: Ixodidae) in southern coastal Maine woodlands. Journal of Medical Entomology 43:1142-1152CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Ingold JL, Craycraft MJ (1983) Avian frugivory on honeysuckle (Lonicera) in soutwestern Ohio in fall. Ohio Journal of Science 83:256-258Google Scholar
- Racelis AE, Davey RB, Goolsby JA, Pérez de León AA, Varner K, Duhaime R (2012) Facilitative ecological interactions between invasive species: Arundo donax stands as favorable habitat for cattle ticks (Acari: Ixodidae) along the U.S.-Mexico border. Journal of Medical Entomology 49:410-417CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Smith EP (2002) BACI design. Encyclopedia of Environmetrics, New York: WileyGoogle Scholar
- White MA, Beurs D, Kirsten M, Didan K, Inouye DW, Richardson AD, Jensen OP, O’Keefe J, Zhang G, Nemani RR, Leeuwen V (2009) Intercomparison, interpretation, and assessment of spring phenology in North America estimated from remote sensing for 1982-2006. Global Change Biology 15:2335-2359CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Williams SC, Ward JS, Worthley TE, Stafford KC (2009) Managing Japanese barberry (Ranunculales: Berberidaceae) infestations reduces blacklegged tick (Acari: Ixodidae) abundance and infection prevalence with Borrelia burgdorferi (Spirochaetales: Spirochaetaceae). Environmental Entomology 38:977-984CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar