The Monroe Farmers' Market had an invasion of insects and weeds last Friday. It originated at the Monroe Land Trust & Tree Conservancy's table, which had an Asian Longhorn Beetle, an Emerald Ash Borer and a Mustard Garlic weed.
Though these were only props (the bugs weren't alive and the plant was safely contained in a pot), Marven Moss of the land trust said these invasive non-native species pose threats to New England.
Monroe Land Trust President Aaron McGoldrick said, "The Asian Longhorn Beetle is in New York. It attacks maples. The Emerald Ash Borer bores into Ash trees. It's already in Connecticut."
McGoldrick said the insect was detected in New Haven County last month.
Moss said, "Japanese wasps were brought in by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station to eat them. Both are invasive."
Land trust members taught visitors to the farmers' market about evasive species and made it fun with samples of the bugs and a large poster of the Asian Longhorn Beetle with the face cut out. "Put Your Mug in the Bug" it said.
Moss took photos of people posing with their faces on the beetle's body and emailed the pictures to them.
"We're at the farmers' market to raise our profile with the idea of getting more people involved in preserving the natural tree canopy of Monroe," Moss said.
Barbara Thomas, a fellow Monroe Land Trust Board member, knows about invasive plants from her experience as a master gardener. She brought a Mustard Garlic weed to the market Friday.
"These are out of my yard unfortunately," Thomas said with a smile. "It's in the mustard family and it produces tons of seeds. And it's everywhere. In yards, woodlands, roadsides ... it will grow absolutely everywhere — sun or shade."
"Invasives are non-native to New England," Thomas explained. "The problem is most of the time insects can't eat them, so you're depriving insects of their food, which deprives birds of food to feed to their young."
The Monroe Farmers' Market is every Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. For information, visit monroefarmersmarket.org.