Emerald Ash Borer!

Agrilus planipennis, commonly known as the emerald ash borer, is a green buprestid or jewel beetle native to northeastern Asia that feeds on ash species. This Asian insect was likely transported in wood crating, pallets and other packing material which was shipped to the United States in the mid-1990s, according to Michigan State University Extension (MSUE). The Emerald Ash Borer is responsible for the destruction of tens of millions of ash trees in 27 states. In its native range, it is typically found at low densities and does not cause significant damage to trees native to the area. Outside its native range, it is an invasive species and is highly destructive to ash trees native to northwest Europe and North America.

EAB populations can quickly rise to damaging levels. Host species include green ash, white ash, black ash, blue ash, and pumpkin ash. After initial infestation, all ash trees are expected to die in an area within 10 years without control measures. Every North American ash species shows susceptibility to EAB as North American species planted in China also shows high mortality due to EAB infestation.

Signs and symptoms are indicators of insect attack. A sign is a physical damage to a tree, such as a gallery, a hole, or a feeding notch in the leaf, resulting from the attack by an insect. A symptom is a tree’s response to insect attack and includes premature yellowing of foliage, dead branches, thinning crowns, or bark cracks. Crown dieback is one common symptom of EAB infestation. Dieback of the upper and outer crown begins after multiple years of Emerald ash borer larval feeding. Trees start to show dead branches throughout the canopy, beginning at the top. Larval feeding disrupts nutrient and water flow to the upper canopy, resulting in leaf loss. Leaves at the top of the tree may be thin and discolored. Let us look at another symptom known as Epicormic Sprouting. When trees are stressed or sick, they try to grow new branches and leaves wherever they still can. Trees may have new growth at the base of the tree and on the trunk, often just below where the larvae are feeding.  Woodpeckers, on the other hand, eat emerald ash borer larvae that are under the bark. This usually happens higher in the tree where the emerald ash borer prefers to attack first. If there are large numbers of larvae under the bark the woodpecker damage can make it look like strips of bark have been pulled off of the tree. This is called “flecking.”

Now let us have a look at the signs of infestation done by an emerald ash borer.

D-shaped emergence holes: As adults emerge from under the bark they create a D-shaped emergence hole that is about 1/8 inch in diameter.

S-shaped larval galleries: As larvae feed under the bark they wind back and forth, creating galleries that are packed with frass (larva poop) and sawdust and follow a serpentine pattern.

Larvae: Larvae are cream-colored, slightly flattened (dorso-ventrally) and have pincher-like appendages (urogomphi) at the end of their abdomen. Larvae are found feeding beneath the bark.

Adults: Adult beetles are metallic green and about the size of one grain of cooked rice (3/8 – 1/2 inch long and 1/16 inch wide). Adults are flat on the back and rounded on their underside.

Here are some recent news articles pertaining to the damage caused by the EAB.

 Public is paying price of emerald ash borer infestation

April 19, 2017, USA
OSCODA – High winds sweeping through Iosco County this month have toppled trees on top of power lines, causing electrical outages and home damage.

Most of the felled trees are dead or dying ash trees, killed by emerald ash borers (EAB), an invasive insect which was discovered in southeastern Michigan and Windsor, Ontario in June 2002.

“Municipalities and homeowners are paying for the EAB invasion,” said Eric Brandon, Alcona Conservation District forester for Alcona and Iosco counties.

EAB are so aggressive that ash trees die within two or three years after becoming infested. Damage is caused by the larvae, feeding in S-shaped tunnels on the inside of bark of branches and tree trunks. It is the inner bark, or phloem, which transports nutrients and water.

Emerald ash borer destroying Door Co. trees

April 11, 2017, USA

Thousands of ash trees are dying as the emerald ash borer eats its way up the Door County peninsula. One of the hot spots for the disease is the downtown of the city where chunks of bark lie under the ash trees and woodpeckers are feasting on the emerging tiny insects.

More than 12 million ash trees throughout the county are at risk since the emerald ash borer bugs were found near Fish Creek and in Sturgeon Bay in 2014. Ash trees account for about 13 percent of the county’s estimated 115 million trees, said Bill Ruff, a forester for the state Department of Natural Resources in Door and Kewaunee counties.

There are a variety of treatment options that can serve as a control measure for the EAB, but they are not a cure.

Insecticides with active ingredients such as imidacloprid, benzoate, and dinotefuran are currently used. These insecticides are toxic in nature. They kill the target as well as the non- target species. They are harmful to human health as well.

C Tech Corporation can offer a solution to overcome the damage caused by EAB to our trees. Termirepel™ is an ideal solution for prevention from damages inflicted by EAB. Termirepel™ is a nontoxic and nonhazardous insect aversive.   It is highly effective against insects like EAB, grasshopper, worms etc. It is cost effective and cost efficient, inert, stable up to 1400 deg Celsius temperature, long lasting etc.

Termirepel is available in the form of polymer masterbatches which can be incorporated in plastic tree guards, fencing of the trees, mulches, etc.

 

 

 

Whitefly damage!

Whiteflies are small Hemipterans that typically feed on the undersides of plant leaves. They comprise the family Aleyrodidae, the only family in the superfamily Aleyrodoidea. They can be as small as 1/12 of an inch, somewhat triangular in shape, and are often found in clusters on the undersides of leaves. They are active during the daytime, so they are easier to spot than some other nocturnal pests. More than 1550 species have been described. Whiteflies develop rapidly in warm weather, and populations can build up quickly in situations where natural enemies are ineffective and when weather and host plants favor outbreaks. Large colonies often develop on the undersides of leaves. The most common pest species such as greenhouse whitefly and sweet potato whitefly have a wide host range that includes many weeds and crops. These species breed all year round in warmer parts of California, moving from one host to another as plants are harvested or dry up. Another species of whitefly with a broad host range is the giant whitefly, Aleurodicus dugesii. It is now found in coastal areas and interior valleys in much of the state on a number of tropical and semi-tropical ornamental species.

Adult whiteflies are moth-like insects with powdery white wings and short antenna. They are easily recognized and often found near the tops of plants or on stem ends. Wingless nymphs are flattened, oval and almost scale-like in appearance.  The full life cycle of the whitefly lasts between 15 to 40 days, depending on environmental conditions, particularly the temperature, as eggs will turn into adults more quickly when the temperature is higher. The whitefly usually lays its eggs on the underside of the leaves and the eggs stick to them by means of a pedicel. The larva or nymphs emerge from the eggs and in their first stage of development, they are mobile enough to move along the leaf until they find the right place to insert their stylus and begin to feed off the sap of the phloem, which is rich in sugars. The nymphs then pass through several more stages of development, during which they remain in the same place and continue to feed off the plant until the adult emerges from the last nymph stage. Non-fertilized eggs produce males while the fertilized eggs produce females.

The whitefly feeds on more than 500 species of host plants. Common targets include ornamental plants, houseplants, hibiscus, coleus, fuchsia, sweet potato (edible and ornamental), tomato, grape, citrus and squash-family plants. Whiteflies use their piercing, needle like mouth parts to suck sap from phloem, the food-conducting tissues in plant stems and leaves. Large populations can cause leaves to turn yellow, appear dry, or fall off plants. Like aphids, whiteflies excrete sugary liquid called honeydew, so leaves may be sticky or covered with black sooty mold that grows on honeydew. The honeydew attracts ants, which interfere with the activities of natural enemies that may control whiteflies and other pests.
Feeding by the immature sweet potato whitefly, Bemisia tabaci, can cause plant distortion, discoloration, or silvering of leaves, and may cause serious losses in some vegetable crops. Some whiteflies transmit viruses to certain vegetable crops. These include the TYLCV (Tomato yellow leaf curl virus), the ToCV (Tomato chlorosis crinivirus) or the TYMV (Tomato Yellow Mosaic Virus). Whiteflies are not normally a problem in fruit trees although their populations can build up in citrus, pomegranate and avocado. In warm or tropical climates and especially in greenhouses, whiteflies present major problems in crop protection. Worldwide economic losses are estimated at hundreds of millions of dollars annually.

Let us look at some news articles pertaining to the damage caused by whiteflies.

Whitefly pest attacks cotton crop in Punjab
July 11 2016, India
Whitefly pest has again attacked cotton crop, now in the flowering stage, in Punjab, posing a threat to the kharif crop even as the opposition Congress lambasted the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alliance for its “failure” in preventing the pest attack. “Whitefly has attacked cotton crop in several fields of about 15 villages of Khuian Sarwar block in Abohar,” an official of Punjab Agriculture department said on Monday.

Also in the year 2015, about two-third of Punjab’s cotton crop was destroyed by whiteflies causing an estimated loss of Rs 4,200 crore. There were reports of at least 15 cotton farmers committing suicide.

The damage and loss caused by these tiny whiteflies are huge! We cannot afford this significant amount of crop damage caused by pests like whiteflies. There is an urgent need for a sustainable solution.

Termirepel™ anti-insect additive, a CTech Corporation product is the best solution for the prevention and control of insect infestations. Termirepel™ masterbatch can be incorporated in agricultural films, mulches, greenhouse films etc. during polymer processing. It can also be incorporated in silage bags and packaging films to protect the crops in the post-harvest stage from pest damage.
Termirepel™ lacquer can be added to paints which can then be applied to fencing, etc. It follows 6 tiered mechanism, which is extremely effective on insects like whiteflies, ants, beetles, grasshopper, termites etc. Termirepel™ is a nontoxic and nonhazardous anti-insect additive. It is thermally stable and does not degrade on exposure to heat and sunlight. It does not kill or harm the insect but repels them. It does not volatilize and does not degrade the soil. It is RoHS, RoHS2, REACH compliant and FIFRA exempted.

Aphids:Huge threat to our plants!

Aphids, also known as plant lice, are small sap-sucking insects and members of the super family Aphidoidea. Aphids are among the most destructive insect pests on cultivated plants in temperate regions. They are capable of extremely rapid increase in numbers by asexual reproduction. The damage they do to plants has made them enemies of farmers and gardeners around the world. About 4,400 species of aphids are known, all included in the family Aphididae. Around 250 species are serious pests for agriculture and forestry as well as an annoyance for gardeners. They vary in length from 1 to 10 millimeters. Aphids are small, soft-bodied, pear-shaped insects that are frequently found in large numbers. Their bodies may be translucent, but are usually various shades of green, brown, yellow, or white, sometimes blending in with the plant on which they are feeding. Many aphid species have two tube-like structures, called cornicles, which extend from the back and secrete a defensive fluid. Adult forms may be winged or wingless, depending upon their stage of development during the season. Winged forms have four membranous wings that rest upright above the body.

A generation of aphids survives the winter as eggs, which allows them to withstand extreme environmental conditions of temperature and moisture. In spring the eggs on the plant hatch, leading to the first generation of aphids. All the aphids born from the winter eggs are females. Several more generations of female aphids are born during the spring and summer. A female can live for 25 days, during which time she can produce up to 80 new aphids. Spring and summer reproduction occurs asexually. In these cases, the resulting aphids are basically clones of the mother. In addition, the young are born live rather than as eggs. When the fall approaches, there is a generation that grows into both male and female individuals. Females fertilized by the males lay winter eggs on the plant where they are, closing the cycle.

Aphid damage is usually most noticeable on shade trees and ornamental plantings. Leaves, twigs, stems, or roots may be attacked by aphids, whose mouthparts are designed for piercing the plant and sucking the sap. Aphids attack nearly all species of plants. When leaves are attacked by aphids, damage often appears first as spotty yellow discolorations, usually on the undersides of leaves; the leaves may later dry out and wilt. Some aphid species form galls or cause distorted, curled, or deformed leaves. The galls are swellings of plant tissues that are usually globular or spindle shaped, with mouth-like openings. Many galls turn brown and are considered unsightly. Each gall or deformed leaf may contain numerous aphids in all stages of development. Aphids attached to other plant parts such as stems or twigs may cause stunted growth, early leaf fall, or twig mortality. Many aphid species secrete honeydew from the anus; this sweet, sticky substance consists mainly of excess sap ingested by the insect and contains sugars and waste materials. At times, enough honeydew may be secreted to cover not only the aphid infested foliage but also objects below the affected tree or shrub. After a time a black, sooty fungus that grows on honeydew and gives everything it has covered a dirty gray appearance. Because of its sweetness, the honeydew attracts other pests such as flies, wasps, and especially ants, whose presence may be the first visible sign of an aphid infestation.

Let us look at some news articles pertaining to the damage caused by aphids.

Aphids seen at threshold level in southwest Missouri wheat
March 23, 2017, USA

Jill Scheidt, agronomy specialist with University of Missouri Extension, scouted fields west of Lamar and near Iantha for the March 1 crop scouting update.

Wheat was found to be in the tillering stage.

“Wait to apply nitrogen until just before jointing stage, when nitrogen is most efficiently used. Early nitrogen applications should only be made if tiller count is below 60 tillers per square foot,” said Scheidt. “This avoids overly lush growth, which can make wheat susceptible to disease, aphids, lodging and late freeze damage.”

Aphids damage early crops
August 6, 2013

 There has been significant aphid damage to early sown crops, particular in central NSW.

Pest Facts reported there were many accounts of damage in the Central Tablelands region around Mudgee, NSW.

The damage began in July once the resistance imparted by seed treatment wore off.

Oats have been one of the worst impacted crops.

Oat aphid, corn aphid and rose grain aphid favor barley, but are found in all cereal crops. Heavy infestations of these sap sucking insects cause the crop to turn yellow, be stunted and generally appear unthrifty.

All three aphids can damage crops by feeding on them and in some instances by spreading barley yellow dwarf virus.

According to a recent study by researchers at Iowa State University aphids has become a threat to soybean in the recent years because they possess a unique ability to block the genetic defense response of soybeans and may open the door for other pests to do even more damage to the crops. Their research further made significant contribution as the scientist stated that Aphids emerged as a serious threat to Iowa soybeans around 2000. The insects are native to Asia and most likely came to the United States via international travelers or plants brought into the country.  In the years since, aphids have caused soybean farmers major headaches, reducing yields in affected fields by up to 40 percent, a scientist said.

These creatures thus cause a lot of damage in the agricultural sector. Also they invite more pests like the ants to the plants further endangering them. Conventional methods used to combat them include the use of toxic pesticides which are extremely hazardous to the environment. New methods need to be developed to do away with aphids for good. The method used should be 100% effective and should not endanger the environment in any way whatsoever.

Termirepel™ is a non-toxic, non-hazardous insect and pest repellant. It can be best described as a termite aversive. It is effective against a multitude of other insects and pests like weevils, beetles, bugs, aphids etc. It works on the mechanism of repellence and therefore does not kill the target as well as non-target species. Being non-toxic, it does not harm the soil and environment. Termirepel™ can be added to a thin agricultural film to protect plants and crops from insects like aphids. It can also be incorporated in irrigation pipes to ward of pests.

 

 

 

 

Woodworm damage!

Woodworm is the wood-eating larvae of any of many species of beetle. It is a collective term used to describe all wood-boring insects that attack wood and timber, causing structural damage to buildings. There are a number of wood boring insects that attack timber with the most common being the ‘Common Furniture Beetle’  that attacks soft wood. One may not realize that they have a woodworm problem until the resulting damage becomes visible. If left untreated woodworm can seriously weaken timber which may lead to structural failure of timbers. The levels of damage to the property are dependent on the size of the woodworm infestation. Fresh exit holes in timber, tunnels in wood, bore dust, weak and damaged floorboards, crumbling wood, dead beetles, eggs are some of the common signs of woodworm infestation. Any of these signs could mean you have a woodworm infestation.

Round or oval shaped holes with sharp edges are a clear indication of woodworm infestation. Tunnels in wood, also known as galleries are the result of woodworm boring through the infected timber. Bore dust, also known as frass, is caused by emerging adult beetles. This is usually visible below the infested timber. Crumbling wood can be found around corners or edges of roof joists or floorboards.

The amount of harm caused by woodworm depends on the species of beetle and the type of wood.

Common Furniture Beetle: Attacks softwood (conifer) and the sapwood of European hardwoods. Rarely causes structural weakening although tunneling along the grain of the wood can potentially cause extensive collapse.

House Longhorn Beetle: Only attacks the sapwood of softwood timbers. As softwood is often used in roof timbers, an infestation can often result in severe structural weakening.

Powder post Beetle: Causes damage to wide-pored hardwood with a high starch content, such as ash, elm, and oak. Tunnels along the grain and can cause severe damage, often infesting block or parquet flooring.

Deathwatch Beetle: Prefers European hardwoods, especially oak, ash and chestnut that have been “softened” by partial decay. The larvae tend to tunnel towards the center of the timber, so that damage may be more extensive than is apparent from the exterior.

Let us look at some news articles pertaining to the damage caused by the woodworms.

Revealed: how altarpiece broke in disastrous fall at London’s National Gallery
Recently published records show that 14th-century work suffered serious damage in 1989
June 9, 2016, UK
The Art Newspaper has learned that a 14th-century Italian altarpiece from the National Gallery in London fell and broke in two in 1989. According to recently published trustees’ minutes from the time, the gallery’s then-director, Neil MacGregor, told the board that it was “probably the most serious non-malicious damage in the gallery’s history, [and] particularly regrettable as the altarpiece had one of the very few original 14th-century frames surviving”. The bulletin reported: “Over the centuries, the canopies above the central panel had become so eroded by woodworm that they were unfortunately damaged during the process of examination… the woodworm damage probably happened over many decades during an infestation of the sacristy or oratory in Tuscany, where the altarpiece was cited in its early history.” There was no mention that it had fallen and broken in two.

Are woodworm infestations about to chew their way through your home?
May 19, 2015, UK

PLYMOUTH residents are being urged to be wary of a woodworm infestation of their homes this spring.

The insect traditionally emerges in households during this time of year and an infestation of the bug could result in severe structural building damage.

Also known as the Common Furniture Beetle, signs to look out for of an active woodworm infestation include the appearance of tell-tale new emergence holes and the dust – known as frass – which falls from them.

Woodworm can infest a wide variety of timber.

This can include structural building timbers, furniture, and even wooden ornaments.

If left unchecked, and with the right conditions, infestations can even lead to the total collapse of vulnerable timbers within a building.

The conventional use of insecticides is no longer considered to be a safe and effective method to get rid of these woodworms. Some insecticides are even not advisable due to their toxicity and potentially damaging effect on human health and the environment. Moreover, overuse of toxic chemicals in residential settings puts occupants at risk so it’s preferable to avoid unneeded repeat treatments.

So do we have a green solution for this problem? Yes, we do! CTech Corporation’s Termirepel™.   Termirepel™ an anti-termite and anti-insect polymer additive is an ideal solution for the prevention and control of woodworms. It follows 6 pronged strategy which is extremely effective against woodworms as well as insects like ants, termites, grasshopper, bugs etc.

Termirepel™ is nontoxic and nonhazardous anti termite and anti-insect additive. It is thermally stable and does not degrade on exposure to heat and sunlight. It does not kill or harm the insect but repels them. It is RoHS, RoHS2, REACH compliant and FIFRA exempted. Termirepel™ is available in the form of a masterbatch, liquid concentrate, and lacquer solution. Termirepel™ lacquer can be applied as a top coat over the wooden objects and furniture to protect them from the woodworm damage.

 

Roaches found everywhere!

Cockroaches are insects of the order Blattodea, which also includes termites. Currently, 4600 species and over 460 genera are described worldwide. They are an ancient group, dating back at least as far as the Carboniferous period, some 320 million years ago. Cockroaches are somewhat generalized insects without special adaptations like the sucking mouth parts of aphids and other true bugs; they have chewing mouth parts and are likely among the most primitive of living neopteran insects. They are common and hardy insects, and can tolerate a wide range of environments from Arctic cold to tropical heat. Most species of cockroach are about the size of a thumbnail, but several species are bigger. They have a relatively small head and a broad, flattened body, and most species are reddish-brown to dark brown. They have large compound eyes, two ocelli, and long, flexible antennae. The mouth parts are on the underside of the head and include generalized chewing mandibles, salivary glands and various touch and taste receptors.

Cockroaches are one stubborn species of insects to eradicate. They show a fascinating and unbelievable knack for survival against all odds that is almost enviable. And they are not just in our houses but everywhere, where they can find food. Cockroaches cause damage in the following ways:

Feeding Damage: One of the earliest and most easily disregarded signs of cockroach damage is the signs of feeding. Most roaches infesting homes, chew on starchy items. Furthermore, cockroaches love to live in areas that are particularly damp or dark. The German cockroach feed on books and their bindings thereby destroying them. These cockroaches are also very fond of starchy food like cereal, sugary substances and meat products. The larger roaches usually prefer chewing on paper products, thus destroying them in the process. In addition, the fecal material from feeding can contaminate food and stain other products.

Disease Transmission: Cockroaches transmit numerous diseases. Cockroaches produce secretions that can affect the flavor of various foods and have also been implicated in the transmission of diseases. Disease-producing organisms such as bacteria, protozoa, and viruses have been found in cockroach bodies. Different forms of gastroenteritis (food poisoning, dysentery, diarrhea, etc.) appear to be the principal diseases transmitted by these cockroaches. These disease-causing organisms are carried on the legs and bodies of cockroaches, and are deposited on food and utensils as cockroaches forage.
Allergies: A host of studies recognize cockroaches and their byproducts as strong indoor allergenic agents. Since the prevalence of asthma in children has been increasing steadily over the years, the need to control cockroaches is more important than ever. An increased exposure to cockroach allergens is one key factor responsible for the higher prevalence of asthma in poor urban areas.

Let us look at some evidences of damage by these cockroaches worldwide

  • Cockroach infestation forces temporary closure of Burbank restaurant
    March 30 2017, Los Angeles Daily News, USA
  • Sewage discharge, cockroach, rodent infestations force temporary closures at 8 San Fernando Valley restaurants
    February 20 2017, Los Angeles Daily News, USA
  • Cockroach ‘infestation’ discovered at hospital
    January 3 2017, UK
    Across the four hospitals run by The Pennine Acute Hospital Trust in Greater Manchester – The Royal Oldham Hospital, Rochdale Infirmary, Fairfield General Hospital in Bury and North Manchester General Hospital – there were 302 pest sightings in the past year. Reports between April 2015 and March 2016 included a cockroach ‘infestation’ in the day surgery ward at the Royal Oldham Hospital, maggots found in the accident and emergency ward kitchen and a call logged from the Royal Oldham Hospital laundry which read: “Urgent – there are lots of cockroaches”.

A spokesman for Pennine Acute said: “Recent mild winters have seen an increase in vermin across the country. “We take patient, staff and visitor safety seriously and deploy preventative measures to pest control by employing a pest control contractor to visit each of our four hospitals every week, particularly in areas where facilities are susceptible to vermin.”We have also introduced additional housekeeping measures, such as frequently emptying bins and cleaning across our sites.”

  • Cockroach-Infestation In Newborn Ward At Frere Hospital Stains Record: Da
    October 15 2016, South Africa
    An apparent infestation of cockroaches at Frere Hospital’s M1-N “Kangaroo Ward” for mothers awaiting the release of their premature and newborn babies is a stain on the good record of the facility, the Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Eastern Cape said on Wednesday.
    “The DA truly values the sterling work performed by Dr Rolene Wagner and her team at the Frere Hospital and requests that Ward M1-N, and specifically the loose fittings in the ward, should be fumigated and inspected before any more infants and new moms are expected to share a neonatal ward room with cockroaches,” said Celeste Barker, the DA’s Eastern Cape Shadow MEC for Health.
    She said that last week Thursday, Bronwen Spenceley — the young mom of a premature baby girl weighing just 1.5kg – was admitted to M1-N. The ward, though appearing to be clean, has proven to be unhygienic and hazardous.
    “The ward, though appearing to be clean, has proven to be unhygienic and hazardous.
    “The bedside metal cabinets are crawling with cockroaches and when a heater is switched on, the insects come crawling out of all possible apertures – including the beds,” described Barker.

These roaches need to be dealt with. One very important and essential way of doing it is maintaining proper hygiene at all times at all places especially in places like eateries where food is abundant and supervision is lacking. Other conventional methods include the use of potentially toxic and dangerous chemicals as insecticides and pesticides. But the use of these chemicals though conventional should be stopped as there is a chance of human contact and food contamination.
So do we have an effective solution for this problem? Yes we do!
Termirepel™ is non-toxic and non-hazardous insect/termite repellent. It works on the concept of green chemistry repels the target species and does not kill them. Termirepel™ is available in the form of lacquer and can be applied on wooden articles such as door frames, food storage cupboards, etc. It can also be incorporated in paint to be applied on surfaces which need protection. Termirepel™ can thus effectively keep cockroaches away from our food as well as our lives!

Weevil nuisance!

Insects are the most diverse species of animals living on earth. They are undoubtedly the most adaptable form of life as their total numbers far exceed that of any other animal category. It has been estimated that between one quarter and one third of the world grain crop is lost each year during storage. Much of this is due to insect attack. In addition, grain which is not lost is severely reduced in quality by insect damage. Many grain pests preferentially eat out grain embryos, thereby reducing the protein content of feed grain and lowering the percentage of seeds which germinate. Herbivorous insects are said to be responsible for destroying one fifth of the world’s total crop production annually. Some important stored grain pests include rice weevil, maize weevils, grain borers and rust red flour beetle.
A complex of weevils, the rice (Sitophilus oryza), granary (Sitophilus granarius), and maize (Sitophilus zeamais) weevils, are among the most destructive pests of grains, seeds, and grain products stored in elevators and bins. These weevils are pests of grain throughout the world.

Rice Weevil: The rice weevil is a small snout beetle which varies in size, but it averages about three thirty-second inch in length. It varies from a dull red-brown to black, and is usually marked on the back with four light red to yellow spots. The rice weevil has fully developed wings beneath its wing covers and can fly readily. The larval stage of this insect is a soft, white, legless, fleshy grub which feeds on the interior of the grain kernel. When mature, the grub changes to a naked white pupa and later emerges as an adult beetle.

Maize Weevil: The maize weevil, known in the United States as the greater rice weevil, is a species of beetle in the family Curculionidae. It is a major pest of maize. This species attacks both standing crops and stored cereal products, including wheat, rice, sorghum, oats, barley, peas, and cottonseed. The maize weevil also infests other types of stored, processed cereal products such as pasta, cassava, and various coarse, milled grains. It has even been known to attack fruit while in storage, such as apples.

Granary Weevil: Also known as the wheat weevil or the grain weevil, the granary weevil is a common pantry pest found in temperate climates across the globe. They are closely related to the rice and maize weevils. The granary weevil is most often found wherever grain and wheat products are stored, as they are the main sources of food for both larvae and adults. A large population of granary weevil can cause a great deal of damage. Granary weevils are known for destroying the grains and seeds it uses to eat, lay eggs and develop into an adult.

Of the three, the rice weevil is probably the most insidious, owing largely to the ability of flight. All three weevils develop as larvae within the grain kernels. They frequently cause almost complete destruction of grain in elevators or bins, where conditions are favorable and the grain is undisturbed for some length of time. Infested grain are usually found heating at the surface, sometimes to such an extent that sprouting occurs. Wheat, corn, macaroni, oats, barley, sorghum, kaffir seed, and buckwheat are just some of the grains and products on which these weevils feed. The weevil chews a small hole in the seed and lays an egg in the resulting cavity. The larva bores throughout the seed and pupates there. Corn is a favorite host of the maize weevil, and can become infested in the field as well as in storage.

Let us look at some news articles pertaining to the damage caused by weevils.

Scientists caution farmers of banana weevil attack
March 23 2015, The Hindu, India
Scientists of the Agricultural Research Station (ARS) and Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), Virinjipuram have cautioned banana growers in Vellore to keep an eye on banana pseudostem weevil attack on the plantation. A team of scientists had recently spotted high incidence of pseudostem weevil attack on a banana field at Kavasampattu.
R. Rajendiran, director of Tamil Nadu Rice Research Institute, Aduthurai, along with M. Pandiyan, professor and head of ARS and KVK and scientists from ARS, Virinjipuram spotted the pest attack during a visit to a field recently.
The banana pseudostem weevil is a serious attack on bananas. The pest affects varieties of bananas such as “karpuravalli”, “mondan”, “rashthali” that is cultivated in large areas of the district, officials said.
“At least 4,000 hectares of land are under banana cultivation in the district. The incidence of this pest attack is found high in poorly maintained fields. It also spreads to nearby fields,” Mr. Pandiyan said.
Scientists said that being a monophagous pest, the weevils multiply in area where banana is cultivated continuously. This was the case with the farmer at Kavasampattu who has been continuously raising bananas on one acre of land, he added.
Both larvae and adult pest can cause severe damage. As adults are strong fliers, it can move from plant to plant. In the grub stage, it can make extensive tunnels in the leaf sheaths and bore into the pseudostem.

Conventional pesticides used have numerous environmental consequences. The use of toxic pesticides means exposing our pristine soil to the evils of degeneration, degradation of soil quality, ground water pollution, etc. A better way is to use non-conventional products. Unconventional products like Termirepel™ a product of C Tech Corporation are the best for this job. Termirepel™ can be pest described as a non-toxic, non-hazardous termite and insect aversive. It is effective against a multitude of other insects and pests like weevils, beetles, etc. It works on the mechanism of repellence and therefore does not kill the target as well as non-target species. Being non-toxic, it does not harm the soil and environment.

Leaf cutter ant menace!

Leafcutter ants, also known as cut ants or fungus ant, are any of the 47 species of leaf-chewing ants belonging to  two genera Atta and Acromyrmex. These species of tropical, fungus-growing ants are all endemic to South and Central America, Mexico, and parts of the southern United States. Leaf cutting ants live in large colonies of up to two million. The name comes from their habit of cutting leaves and other plant parts from a variety of plants. An interesting fact about these ants is that they can carry more than 5000 times their body weight. Leaf cutter ants can be extremely destructive to landscape plants, gardens and some agricultural crops. In extreme cases, these ants are capable of destroying entire citrus trees in the span of a day and can lead to an annual decrease in crop yield in affected areas. In North and South America, damages caused by leaf cutter ants amount to $1 billion in losses. These ants mostly damage weeds, grasses, plum and peach trees, blackberry bushes and many other fruit, nut and ornamental plants as well as several cereal and forage crops.

leaf cutter ants are mostly found in warm areas. One of the most unique things about these ants is that they cultivate and feed on fungus within their nest. These ants cut and process fresh vegetation including leaves, flowers etc. which serves as the nutritional substrate for their fungal activity.

The foraging leaf cutter worker ant is reddish or rust-colored. They range from 1/12 to 1/2 inch in length. The winged reproductive leaf cutter ants can be 1-1/4 inch longer. These ants have a spiny body and long legs. A leaf cutter ant nest can cover up to many hundred square feet in area coverage. These nests can extend as far as ten-twelve feet into the ground. A mature colony of leaf cutter ants could contain 100,000 insects which mostly consist of sterile female workers. These female leaf cutter workers are divided into four castes—major, minor, media and minim. Major workers are soldiers; minors guard the nests and trails; media forage for food; and minims tend the fungus gardens.

Leaf-cutter ants damage vegetation by removing the foliage which is further carried to their nests. They can also remove all the leaves from a tree in one night. The leaves are not eaten.  They are chewed into a material similar to pulp. This pulp further produces a fungus that feeds the colony. Different species of ants use different species of fungus, but all of the fungi the ants use are members of the Lepiotaceae family. The ants actively cultivate their fungus, feeding it with freshly cut plant material and keeping it free from pests and molds. Defoliation by leaf cutting ants can resemble damage produced by several other leaf chewing insects, particularly sawflies and leaf cutting bees. Considerable damage to a plant can occur in a few hours. Small- to medium-sized trees can be stripped in one night. One researcher in South America estimated that a large leaf cutting ant colony harvested approximately 13,000 pounds of leaves over a 6-year period. This same colony excavated 802 cubic feet of soil weighing over 44 tons.

Let us look at some news articles pertaining to the damage caused by leaf cutter ants and also how these ants are immune to the conventional insecticides and poison baits.

Garden Sage: Growths on an oleander; leaf-cutter ants; a spectacular silk floss tree
By Peter L. Warren , October 1, 2016, Arizona

Question: Our hopseed bushes suddenly had no leaves, and we think it is from leaf-cutter ants. We also noticed our palo verde tree near their mound has no leaves.  There are a few mounds near the hopseed bushes and palo verde tree. We also just put in a brick paver driveway and are concerned that the ants will damage it. What should we do?

A: Leaf-cutting ants are often difficult to manage. Although plants can be protected temporarily using insecticides, they need to be reapplied frequently, and these chemicals kill other insects that may be beneficial or harmless. The nests may be very large, hard to find and difficult to manage with insecticides. Because these ants don’t eat the leaves directly, they do not respond to most ant baits.

Leaf Cutter Ants Chew up Photographer’s Camera Gear

June 8, 2016, Brazil

“It’s not just the big guys you have to be worried about when setting up a camera trap in the jungle, you should probably look out for ants too” explains Naturalist Phil Torres

Torres is a biologist, conservationist, naturalist, and photographer, and he was in the Amazon rainforest with photographer Jeff Cremer of Rainforest Expeditions when they tried to set up a simple camera trap using a Canon 7D, an off-camera flash, and an IR sensor.

Everything was neatly bagged up to keep it out of the rain, and the gear was tested and in good condition. But when they arrived the next morning, they found all the bags and coverings gone, Jeff’s tripods and cables chewed up, and all of his gear waterlogged beyond saving.

The culprit? The tiny leaf cutter ants!

It turned out Cremer and Torres had set up the trap just a few feet away from the ants’ nest. Overnight, the ants came and cut the bags to pieces, chewed into the gorilla pods and cables, and left whatever gear was still working exposed to the elements so the rain could finish the job. In all, the ants caused about $2,800 worth of damage.

Leafcutter ants are a serious agricultural threat. Thus we need a long term and effective solution to control their nuisance. We at CTech Corporation have a solution to avoid the damages caused by these pesky ants. Termirepel™ anti-insect additive, a CTech Corporation product is the best solution for the prevention and control of insect infestations. It follows 6 tiered mechanism, which is extremely effective on insects like ants, termites, beetles etc. Termirepel™ masterbatch can be incorporated in agricultural films, mulches, greenhouse films etc. during polymer processing. The incorporation of our masterbatches into the films would keep the leaf cutter ants away from the crops which need to be protected.  Also Termirepel™ liquid concentrate can be added to paints which can then be applied to fencing, etc. for protection. Termirepel™ is a nontoxic and nonhazardous anti-insect additive. It is thermally stable and does not degrade on exposure to heat and sunlight. It does not kill or harm the insect but repels them. It does not volatilize and does not degrade the soil. It is RoHS, RoHS2, REACH compliant and FIFRA exempted.

 

Carpenter Ants!

Carpenter ants are large ants indigenous to many forested parts of the world. They are among the largest ants found in the United States. Most of these ants are black in color, but some species may also have reddish or yellowish coloration. Carpenter ants can grow as long as three-fourths of an inch, depending on the type. Queen lays 9 to 16 eggs the first year and may live up to 25 years. Eggs complete their life cycle in about 6 to 12 weeks. The body of these carpenter ants has three distinct sections consisting of the head, thorax, and abdomen. The thorax and abdomen are visibly divided by a pinched waist, which helps distinguish carpenter ants from termites. They also have six legs and a pair of elbowed, or bent, antennae.

These ants are found everywhere, both outdoor as well as indoor, mostly in moist and hollow wood. They are capable of damaging any wood within which they nest. The ants further cut galleries into the wood grain to form their nests and provide passageways for movement from section to section of the nest.  Galleries excavated from damp or damaged wood are mostly preferred by them to establish their colonies. Carpenter ants infestation can become severe when left untreated. These ants do not eat wood as termites do; instead, they remove the wood and deposit debris outside of their nests in small piles. Usually, the carpenter ants build two types of nests: parent colonies and satellite colonies. Parent colonies consist of a queen, her brood, and workers. Satellite colonies consist of workers, older larvae, and pupae. Workers create satellite colonies when the parent colony lacks sufficient space or when there is a suitable supply of food or water. There may be several satellite colonies associated with a parent colony.

The amount of damage caused by such nesting and infestations on a property varies. If a colony has been actively infesting a property for a long period of time, the structural damage can be very extensive. That’s why it’s crucial to have infestations treated as quickly as possible. One sign of carpenter ant damage is the appearance of small, circular galleries on the surface of the wood. The worker carpenter ants excavate sawdust-like debris around or below the exit holes. The area inside the galleries appears smooth and free of debris. This damage caused due to tunneling is huge.Also, the carpenter ants are usually drawn to moisture. Thus colonies of carpenter ants infiltrate homes and build nests in the wood near windows, doorframes, attics, chimneys, bathtubs, and any other area in the home with damaged or waterlogged wood. Carpenter ants often gravitate to homes with leaks that allow excess moisture to permeate the structure.

These pests do not eat wood but use it only for the purpose of building nests. Thus they are commonly attracted to human food sources, such as sweets, meats, and fats. Food items like sugar, honey, and syrup are highly attractive to carpenter ants. The insects are also drawn to grease spills and overripe fruit.

Let us look at some news articles pertaining to the damage caused by the carpenter ants.

Blog: Spring has sprung and so have the carpenter ants

March 21, 2017, Canada

Carpenter ants are plentiful in Delta, and are common pests in homes, sheds and other buildings. In spring carpenter ants are more active at night and by using a flashlight you can find the main nest outdoors. In structures, the presence of sawdust is a key clue in locating ant nests. The most common carpenter ants are the familiar large, black ants that are 4 mm or more in length and shiny black. If you find both small and large ants then there is likely more than one queen in the nest, if they are all the same size then there is only one queen. Carpenter ants chew through wet and rotting wood and can cause structural damage. They discard the wood, not using it as a food source like termites, and tunnel to create their satellites nests where eggs are stored in the hollowed frame. Damage can go unnoticed until the wood structural integrity has become compromised.

Carpenter ant damage results in increase in bridge repair costs

November 2016, USA

The cost to maintain and repair a bridge nearly doubled recently and experts say part of the problem is due to carpenter ants.

The bridge we’re talking about is the Scipio Road Bridge over Keshequa Creek in Livingston County. Leaders there say the repairs need to be done now or that cost could grow even more.

Kathy Link owns a furniture shop in Mt. Morris. Since she opened six years ago, she says they’ve been watching out for carpenter ants.

“They can eat it right up,” says Link. “They can make a mess — that’s what they do.”

And that’s exactly what carpenter ants did to a small portion of Scipio Road’s bridge. The projected cost to replace the deck skyrocketed from $442,000 to $643,000 after inspectors found severe bug damage in the first four feet on each end of the 100-foot wooden deck.

Carpenter ants on rise, causing problems in Windsor

July 7, 2014, Canada

Pest management companies in Canada say it’s likely that an unusually snowy winter has allowed a high number of carpenter ants to survive the winter.

They say the number of carpenter ants is on the rise in Windsor, Ont., and Halifax, N.S.

Steve Pelletier of Steve’s Pest Management says he has already responded to 220 calls for carpenter ants this year. He had 237 carpenter ants calls in all of 2013.

Windsor is not alone in its fight against carpenter ants. Residents in Halifax, N.S., have also noticed an increase in the number of carpenter ants.

Now, they’re out foraging for food and establishing new colonies.

“In the early spring or late fall, you’ll see large ants moving around in the house. They’re low on the feed so they start wandering and looking for food,” he said. “Most people complain when they actually see the ants.”

Stewart said 95 per cent of a colony stays in its main nest, but there could be 13 satellite nests in one location.

“You won’t see the damage until much later on,” Stewart said.

So is there an effective solution for this problem? Yes, there is. Termirepel ™, an anti-insect additive, a C Tech Corporation product is an ideal solution for the prevention and control of carpenter ants infestation. It follows 6 pronged strategy which is extremely effective in preventing the damage caused by these ants as well as insects like bedbugs, beetles, grasshopper, termites etc. Termirepel™ is a non-toxic, non-hazardous and environment-friendly product, with a high efficacy to repel insects like carpenter ants from the wood. It is thermally stable and does not degrade on exposure to heat and sunlight. It does not kill or harm the insect but repels them. It is RoHS, RoHS2, REACH compliant and FIFRA exempted. Termirepel™ in solution form can be injected at a high pressure in the lumber so as to prevent the infestation. It is also available in lacquer form which can be applied on the furniture, patios, floor, doorframes, windows, attics as a coating so as to prevent further infestation.