Originally posted on ecoipm.org.
Gloomy scale, Melanaspis tenebricosa, is an armored scale that feeds on maples and other tree species. It becomes very abundant on red maples on streets and in landscapes and can cause branch dieback and tree death in some cases. It is not unusual to find trees with nearly 100% of their trunk covered in scale. Street trees are particularly prone to gloomy scale. Crawlers of this scale are active now and can be seen on bark and under scale covers. One of the reasons we have found this to be such a pest is that female gloomy scales produce about 3 times as many eggs when they live on relatively warm trees (like in a parking lot) than when they live on cooler trees (like in a shady yard). This amazing work is outlined in a recent paper by Adam Dale.
Control of this scale is complicated because crawlers emerge over 6-8 weeks so it is impossible to treat all the crawlers at once with horticultural oil or other contact insecticide. This is different than in other scales, such as euonymus scale, in which all crawlers are produced within a narrow window of 2 weeks or so. Adam Dale took a video of some gloomy scale crawlers so you can get an idea of how tiny and nondescript they are. This may also give you an idea of why scales are so vulnerable at this stage to the environment, predators, and insecticides like horticultural oil. Once they produce their thick waxy cover they are much less vulnerable to all these factors.
See a video of scale crawlers here.
If you have conifers or other plants that seem to have grown weird, dangling pinecones, look again because you have bagworms. Bagworms have been hatching for the last week or so. You can find the tiny caterpillars with tiny upright bags anywhere there are bags left from last year.
The Bagworm, Thyridopteryx ephemeraeformis, is a very common pest of conifers and other ornamental plants throughout the eastern United States. These pests overwinter as eggs within the mother’s bag. Larvae emerge from the bag during the May and June (depending on location and temperature). The larvae crawl or drift via silk strands to nearby foliage where they begin to feed. Bagworms are relatively sedentary during their lifetime, most often remaining on the same tree until they pupate. Adult females are wingless and never leave the tree. Male bagworms develop into a small brown moth.
Bagworms feed on plant foliage and heavy infestations can defoliate trees and shrubs. Young caterpillars produce a silk bag on their posterior end that gradually collects plant debris. This creates a bag covered in pine needles or leaves that protects them from predators and looks (sort of) like a pinecone. Since they don’t move much as larvae and the females don’t fly, they can build up dense populations. Since they are so camouflaged and protected from insecticides, management of these insects can be difficult and time consuming. One of the most effective, yet time consuming methods of treatment are hand-picking or cutting the female pupae bags off of the branches. When this is impractical or impossible, there are chemical control options available that should be applied when caterpillars are young (now) because they are more vulnerable. As with many other pest insects, bagworms are susceptible to predation from parasitoids and birds which can also assist in their control. Find more pest information and blog posts at ecoipm.org.
We took some time off while the blog was undergoing a facelift, but now we are back and will be posting as time allows and as we discover material we believe would be interesting and useful to you.
We hope you have a great spring season!
Just a friendly reminder that now you can sign up for new posts and receive an e-mail when we update the blog.
Look to the top right of the website for details.
The September version of Highlights is out. Check it out here:
Something to look forward to….The IPPS-SRNA 2014 Conference in Hickory, NC October 26-29.
THE LINKS ARE HERE!
REGISTER FOR CONFERENCE (online)
RESERVE YOUR HOTEL ROOM! (code IPP for special rate of $109)
THE 39TH ANNUAL MEETING BROCHURE
Schedule of Events, Sponsors, Hotel Info, Registration Form and more
A few of the tour stops are:*Cam Too Camellia Nursery, where they have a diverse collection of species and cultivar camellias and an IPM system to keep the plants clean and disease free. *Buds and Blooms Nursery, which offers high quality Ericaceous plants deep in the heart of the Piedmont. *Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center, where you can hear the latest research updates for Boxwood Blight …. and much more.
Sunday night’s Welcome Reception at the Hickory Museum of Art
That’s just a taste of what the 2014 conference has to offer.
This video demonstrates how nursery crop producers can apply a systems-based pest management approach to propagation, eliminating or minimizing the spread of pathogens from propagation houses and beds into the main production areas. Five practical tactics are featured, providing an overview of ways producers can stop or minimize the spread and, consequently, reduce costs associated with damage and control measures. Funding for this video was provided by the Southern Risk Management Education Center, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, and the UT Department of Plant Sciences. Narrated by Ms. Haylee Jones, produced by Ms. Halee Jones and Dr. Diana Cochran with assistance from Dr. Amy Fulcher.
To access Alan Windham’s carrot assay described in this video, use this link and select Systems-based Pest Management.
Link to video here.
Yesterday I found the first azalea caterpillars of the year. These tiny caterpillars had just hatched from the white eggs you see
in the background. You can scout for these bright eggs in August before the caterpillars hatch and remove them. I think these caterpillars are worth having though since they are very beautiful. Actually the caterpillars are prettier than azaleas tend to be this time of year and they will eat all the leaves stippled by lace bugs! You can read more about these caterpillars that feed on azaleas and blueberries in a post from last August.
For the last few weeks, orange striped oakworms have been raining on my head as I work in the trees. They also drop a lot of
poop (entomologists call it frass) which is one of the major complaints by homeowners. Orange-striped oakworms congregate on branches to feed every year in late summer but usually do not cause enough damage to warrant treatment.
Young orangestriped oakworms are often light in color and darken as they get older. I have found some parasitized individuals, which means natural enemies are doing their part to reduce oakworm outbreaks. Caterpillars also make great food for birds. We have posted previously about orange-striped oak worm biology and management if you want more information.