Date of this Version
J. Agric. Urban Entomol. 36: 84–89 (2020)
Clearwing moths (Lepidoptera: Sesiidae) are day-flying hornet and wasp mimics that can be found visiting flowers for nectar. Larvae bore in the roots, branches and trunks of woody and some herbaceous plants. Some of these larvae are pests in orchards, nurseries and commercial forestry operations. For example, Synanthe- don exitiosa (Say) and Synanthedon pictipes (Grote & Robinson) are major pests of peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch; Rosaceae] (Johnson et al. 2005), and Synanthe- don scitula (Harris) is a major pest of apple (Malus domestica Borkh.; Rosaceae) (Bergh & Leskey 2003). These species, and Podosesia syringae (Harris), Podosesia aureocincta Purrington & Nielsen and Paranthrene simulans (Grote) are pests of ornamental trees (Brown and Mizell 1993, Braxton & Raupp 1995, Held 2019).
About 135 sesiid species in 20 genera occur in North America (Pühringer & Kallies 2004, Pohl et al. 2016). Forty-four species are likely to occur in South Carolina based on collection records from South Carolina and neighboring states documented in Eichlin & Duckworth (1988). This species richness has not been validated with a comprehensive survey of sesiid diversity in the state. As a first step to better understand sesiid species diversity in South Carolina, a survey was conducted in three counties (Darlington, Georgetown and Pickens) from March 2011 to December 2013. A mixed pine-hardwood forest, an ornamental plant nursery and a botanical garden were surveyed in each of Darlington and Georgetown Counties to diversify the habitats and outcome of this exploratory survey. In Pickens County, a single ornamental plant nursery was surveyed. Surveyed locations in Georgetown County lay within the Sea Island and Coastal Marsh Ecoregion, those in Darlington County within the Atlantic Southern Loam Plain Ecoregion, and that in Pickens County within the Southern Outer Piedmont Ecoregion (Griffith et al. 2002). Locations within a county were separated by at least 20 km.