All posts by Varsha Pote

We are a team dedicated to bringing about the advent of wide usage of non-toxic, non-hazardous products. We manufacture eco-friendly insect and rodent aversive. This space is reserved to highlight the damage caused by various insects, pests and rodents and all sectors of life as also to suggest effective solutions to tackle these problems using our non-toxic, non-hazardous and eco-friendly polymer additive Termirepel

Sod Webworms- A culprit in destroying our lawns!

pic39One insect that is a major concern for gardeners and owners is the sod webworms. These are a common surface feeding insect that damage lawns. They live in virtually everyone’s lawn, but most of the time the damage is never noticed because there aren’t enough webworm larvae or the lawn is healthy and strong enough to repair itself.  No harm, no foul.  However, there are times when sod webworms become a problem and damage turf. Damage usually manifests itself as irregular dead patches that spread over time.  The grass blades seem to cut off at the crown and sometime you can see little balls of worm dropping or frass.

These pests look like tiny caterpillars but may not be visible as they hide in the soil. However, green pellets may be seen that they leave behind on grass blades. Sod webworms chew off the grass blades in lawns and the damage looks similar to a badly-cut lawn. What’s worse, sod webworms are drawn to beautiful looking lawns that are healthy and lush. They are small lawn caterpillars that feed on lawns, causing severe damage very quickly. Mature sod webworms can cause quite a bit of damage before they develop into dingy brown moths. They can consume enough grass in a short period of time to cause homeowners to think that the damage has occurred “overnight.”

Small brown spots may appearsodwebwebwormdamagecrop in the grass, a little at first, and then as the season progresses with rising temperatures and drier conditions, grass growth slows and the brown spots become larger and intersect. This is an indication of possible sod webworm infestation. They have even been noted to cause damage in small grain crops such as corn, wheat and oats. The most severe damage usually shows up in July and August when the temperature is hot and the grass is not growing vigorously. In fact, most sod webworm damage is mistaken for heat and drought stress. Sod webworm-damaged lawns may recover slowly, without irrigation and light fertilizations. These thin turf areas allow weeds to establish in the lawn making it unsightly.

The article given below would better explain the damage caused by these insects.

 daily

Tropical sod webworms active in local lawns

 By Larry Williams

October 2, 2014

During the past few weeks, numerous people have contacted the Okaloosa County Extension Office seeking diagnostic assistance and control options concerning fall sod webworms in their lawns.

Sod webworms are not consistently a problem every year. Some years their numbers are low enough that they are not a problem. Some years we do not see them at all.

Those years when they are a problem, it’s usually not until late summer and early fall that they become active. And, they may continue to feed on lawns until frost occurs.

Sod webworm larvae are commonly found feeding on St. Augustinegrass, bermudagrass and zoysiagrass.

sod-webworms-fall-armywormsSod webworms tend to feed in patches and feed at night.

Adults of these species are fairly small grayish to brown moths.

Because sod webworms feed at night, don’t be surprised if you can’t find them during the day. The greenish or tan caterpillars will be resting, curled up near the soil line.

If you have damaged spots in your lawn, look closely for notched leaf blades, the telltale signs of their chewing damage.

They may also be found by parting the grass and looking for small green caterpillars (no larger than ¾-inch in length) curled up on the soil surface and for small green or brown pellet-like droppings.

Picking the bugs off grass by hand is obviously not an effective solution. Thus we need a solution which would effectively keep the sod webworm population in check, keeping them away from our lawns and crops, while at the same time not having any negative impact on the environment.

C Tech Corporation offers a product called Termirepel™, which is a non-toxic, non-hazardous, environmentally safe insect repellent. It can repel more than 500 species of insects on account of it being a broad spectrum anti-insect repellent. The most striking feature of Termirepel™ is that it neither kills the target species, nor the non-target species. It will simply keep the insects away from the application. This product is available in masterbatch and lacquer form, and as a liquid solution. Termirepel™ can be added in mulches or incorporated in agricultural bags and films, which could be used to keep our lawns safe and guarded against the pesky sod webworms!

Leafminers chewing our Leaves- A Cause for Concern!

privet-leafminerWe have often come across leaves that look as if someone doodled squiggly lines on them. These squiggly lines are in fact the action of a species of insects known as leafminers. Not all leafminers zig-zag their way through leaves. They also cause damage in the form of a whitish transparent blotch. Blotchy leafminer damage is often mistaken for some type of disease. These insects infest plants and trees, which could make them unsightly and weak. As the larvae feed they consume the plant tissue leaving clear mines that, when they die, turn brown and crispy. Usually by the time the damage is observed, the larvae have already left the leaves and are pupating underground.

The damage done by these garden pests to our plants is easy to spot because of the “mines” created as the bugs chew inside the leaf. In some instances the leafminer will cause a light colored blotch on the leaf, in really bad cases the plant will look discolored and/or drop leaves. It is rare that leafminers do enough damage to kill a plant, what they destroy mostly is the aesthetic value of your ornamentals for a short period of time. Found in greenhouses, home gardens and landscaped areas across the country, leafminers are the larval (maggot) stage of an insect family that feeds between the upper and lower surfaces of leaves. On heavily infested plants it is not uncommon to find 6 or more maggots per leaf. Although damage can restrict plant growth, resulting in reduced yields and loss of vigor, healthy plants can tolerate considerable injury. Host plants include beans, blackberries, cabbage, lettuce, peppers, and a variety of ornamental flowers, trees and shrubs. And in the case of such vegetables grown for their leaves, like spinach, chard and beet greens, leafminers can mean a loss of a crop.

Leafminers are insects that have a habit of feeding within leave s or needles, producing tunneling injuries. Several kinds of insects have developed this habit, including larvae of moths, beetles, sawflies and flies. Most of these insects feed for their entire larval period within the leaf. Some will also pupate within the leaf mine, while others have larvae that cut their way out when full-grown to pupate in the soil. Leaf_miner_damageInjuries caused by leaf and needle mining insects can superficially resemble symptoms produced by leaf spotting fungi or other abiotic problems. They can be differentiated by pulling apart the blotchy area. If damaged by insects the leaf or needle will have a hollow area and may expose either the insect and/or its droppings. Leaf spotting fungi cause these areas to collapse, without any tunneling.

The article given below will further explain the damage caused by these leafminers.

 michi

Locust leaf miner cause of browning roadside trees

July 31, 2014 

By Rebecca Finneran

Dramatic browning of black locust, a common roadside tree in the lower peninsula of Michigan is being caused by a small leaf-mining beetle (Odontota orsalis.)This small (one-eighth of an inch long), colorful beetle deposits eggs inside black locust leaves where the larvae feed, creating leaf mines that eventually turn the leaves brown. Heavy infestations cause entire trees or groups of trees to turn brown.

“If this has happened to trees on your property, don’t panic and cut them down,” says David Smitley of Michigan State University Extension. Late season browning or defoliation may weaken trees, but it rarely kills them.

Infestations tend to be every couple of years but one site in Grand Rapids, Michigan has had the damage nearly every year with no ill effect to the trees themselves. With a native range from Pennsylvania to Georgia, black locust is a very adaptable plant with dense hard wood that will survive even the toughest conditions. It can be easily found in Michigan and older stands can be quite beautiful when in bloom.

columbine leafminer 6_0Although injuries produced by leafmining insects can be unattractive, it is rare for them to significantly affect plant health. Also, most leafminers have important natural controls which normally check populations before too much injury is done to plants. Therefore we need a solution that helps protect our plants and trees from damage, while at the same time does not harm the environment in any way. So, how do we fight this pest?  Keep reading!

At C Tech Corporation, we offer a safe and foolproof solution to deal with these tiny insects. Termirepel™ is a non-toxic, non-hazardous product that primarily repels insects from the application. It is a broad spectrum repellent which works against almost 500 species of pestering bugs thus efficaciously fending them away from the application. The best feature of this product is that it is environmentally safe and causes no harm to the insect as well as humans and the environment. It is available in masterbatch and lacquer form, and as a liquid solution. To keep these insects at bay, this product can be incorporated in agricultural films to protect the crops. The repelling mechanism of the product would ward off the leafminers and any other insect that could harm our produce.

Brown planthopper’s deadly attack on rice!

It is said that the word rice is derived from the old French word ‘ris’ Untitledwhich in turn has its origin Italian, Latin and Greek. Whatever be the origin of the word, it is one of the major staple for a large part of the world’s human population, especially in Asia. It is the agricultural commodity with the third-highest worldwide production, after sugarcane and maize, according to data of FAOSTAT 2012.

Being the major staple food of most of the people, the impact is downloadharder on the population due to the shortage of the rice. One of the dangers that befall the rice food leading to its shortage is attack by pests. Brown planthoper is a major rice pest which causes extensive damage and losses. Being distributed across Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, China, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, North and South Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam; the brown planthopper causes upto 60% yield loss. Their host plant other than rice is Leersia hexandra. They damage rice directly through feeding and also by transmitting two viruses, rice ragged stunt virus and grassy stunt virus.

imagesAdults and nymph suck the phloem sap leading to hopper burn & resulting in drying of leaves. High infestation causes lodging of the crop and heavy loss in yield. Infestation is severe in high yielding varieties. Under favorable conditions they multiply very fast. Both brown planthopper(BPH) and white backed planthopper(WBPH) are known for their resistance to commonly used insecticides including the neonicotinoids. Hence crop failures due to severe pest outbreaks are very common in many rice-growing tracts of India. Temperature, relative humidity and prevailing wind direction determine the severity of incidence and spread of BPH.

In appearance the adult brown planthopper is Yellowish brown to dark brown in colour measuring 4.5 to 5.0 mm long.

  • High nitrogen levels and close plant spacing, continuous submerged, shady and humid conditions in the field tend to favor the BPH increase.

• Extensive rice areas with irrigation facilities, multiple rice cropping are important factors for insect abundance.

• Outbreaks of the insect pests are closely associated with insecticide misuse, especially during the early crop stages. These insecticide sprays usually directed at leaf feeding insects disrupt the natural biological control, which favor the BPH development as secondary pest.

• The insect prefers rainfed and irrigated wetland fields to upland rice and transplanted fields to direct sown fields.

Let’s take a look at the following article highlighting the damage done by brown planthopper;

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Pest attack on aman fields worries farmers

Our Correspondent, Lalmonirhat, Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Farmers in the district are worried as attack on paddy fields by brown plant hopper (BPH), locally known as current poka, poses threat to their hope for a good yield of aman this season.

Agriculture officials claim the situation is now under control while the farmers said the use of pesticides has failed to check the pest attack.

Farmers said BPH started attacking aman plants a week ago and many aman paddy fields in the district have already been attacked. They are trying to save their aman plants from being attacked by BPH, using natural methods and spraying pesticides in the fields.

Nurul Islam Bappi, a farmer of Durakuti village in Sadar upazila, said his aman plants on two bighas of land have been attacked by BPH (current poka) and it is also attacking the plants on another two bighas of land. “I have been spraying pesticides in the fields for the last three days, but to no effect,” he said.

Abdul Jalil of Jumma Para village in the upazila said BPH attacked aman plants on his three bighas of land five days ago and wreaked havoc on 50 percent plants. “As per advice of local agriculture officer, I sprayed pesticides that yielded no positive results,” he said.

Contacted, Deputy Director Safayet Hossain of the Department of Agriculture Extension in Lalmonirhat, said the situation is ‘not so alarming’. Agriculture officials are working at field level and giving advice to the farmers about use of pesticides and other methods to combat the PBH disease, he added.


Using conventional toxic pesticides will not be effective as the brown planthopper has become resilient to them. Pesticides are toxic, hazardous and pollute the environment. So a solution has to be adopted which have the traits exactly opposite to the deadly pesticides.

C-Tech Corporation provides a solution for the hopeful farmers to protect their crops effectively and efficiently. Termirepel™ a non-toxic, non-hazardous and environment friendly product repels all kinds of insects, termites, pests. They can be incorporated in agricultural films, mulches and irrigation pipes to protect the crops from the vicious pests. The product is available in the form masterbatch as well as liquid solution and is compatible with most the base polymers. The most important quality of the product is that it does not kill the target species but repels them.  Using Termirepel™ will ensure that the crops are protected which gives a ray of hope for the problem of malnourishment.

 

 

 

Protecting PVC from critters!

PVC has been used extensively in a wide range of construction products for over half a century. PVC’s strong, lightweight, durable and versatile characteristics make it ideal for an ample range of applications. PVC has a versatility that helps it meet the various needs of modern architecture. PVC was first used as cable insulation as a replacement for rubber during the Second World War, but has now become the superior material through its flexibility, ease of handling in installation and inherent flame retardation. PVC cables do not harden and crack over time and find use in many applications from telecommunications to electric blankets. In Europe, about 25% of all flexible PVC is used in the production of wire and cables for the electrical industries.

UK-Ant-Species-Drawn-Irresistibly-to-Electricity-2As resistant as PVC is to abrasion and corrosion, there is one thing that PVC has absolutely no resistance against-pests! Insects such as ants and termites have been long-standing enemies of PVC who damage and eventually destroy the articles. A number of insects including termites, like beetles, ants, wasps etc secrete formic acid that has the ability to dissolve the insulation of wires thereby destroying them. About 3% of the body weight of termites is made up of formic acid. Termites cause over $2 billion every year in property damage. And that’s not all wood! Termites do not eat plastic; however, the aggressive Formosan termite is known to attack plastic in search of food. Termites often chew through softer plastics. They play havoc with buried cables and sometimes bore a hole through water pipes causing service interruptions and major damage. Tunneling can lead to damage to electrical cords and cause blackouts.

Besides termites, the other species that cause major damage to PVC articles are ants. Ants going about their daily routine grow increasingly frustrated with the presence of underground optical cables and other telecommunications article_img-1equipment including lawn pedestals and terminating boxes and thereby become a growing problem for telecom companies that can blame local outages on their activities. There have been a lot of incidences where outages have been directly attributed to insect activity. Material brought into the colony can overheat equipment when it blocks air vents, increased moisture from the insects can corrode or compromise sensitive electronics, and insect attempts to push PVC wiring out of the way can ruin optical cables.

Below is an article that sheds some light on the damage caused by these critters on PVC wires and cables.

  huffpost

‘Crazy’ Ants, New Invasive Species, Destroys Electric Wiring

Posted: 06/10/2013 

If you thought fire ants were bad, just wait until you get a load of “crazy” ants.

Yes, crazy ants, a species of South American ant whose colony movements are so erratic that researchers could only evoke insanity when describing them.

Also known as raspberry or tawny crazy ants, the insects have spread to Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi since first being spotted in Houston, Texas, in 2002. They “have a taste for everything from livestock to electrical equipment,” according to ABC News. They have been known to infest homes, transformers and even electronic devices such as laptops and smartphones.

 Unlike its cousin the fire ant (also called the red ant), which it has displaced in several locations, the crazy ant is highly invasive. Moving into competitive territory, crazy ants aggressively compete for other species’ resources and establish dominance. Poison bait that works on fire ants is ineffective on crazy ants because the insects won’t take it.

 “When you talk to folks who live in the invaded areas, they tell you they want their fire ants back,” Ed LeBrun, an invasive species researcher at the University of Texas, said in a UT Austin College of Natural Sciences video. “Fire ants are in many ways very polite. They live in your yard. They form mounds and stay there, and they only interact with you if you step on their mound.”

 LeBrun, co-author of a recent study on how crazy ants have displaced fire ants in Texas’ ecosystems, explained that the insects’ opportunistic nesting habits are a key factor in their biological dominance. That dominance could mean drastic changes to an ecosystem that’s adjusted to the presence of fire ants — also an invasive species — over the past 40 years.

While they are omnivorous, the ants do not actually “feast on” electrical equipment, as has been suggested. The ants damage electronics by “forming bridges between the electrical contacts” and shorting them out, LeBrun pointed out.

 Though the crazy ant threat to electronics has not been lost on the tech media, the insects are probably more a threat to your air conditioner than they are to your iPhone. As CNET notes, “You might want to think twice about leaving your laptop outside in crazy ant territory, but the ants are more likely to get into fixed equipment, house wiring and even recreational vehicles.”

RIFA damaged wiresAlthough these pests have been a source of great concern and annoyance, killing them using poisons or traps somehow seems ethically wrong, not to mention unsafe and toxic. Thus we need to find a way to protect our wires and pipes from the action of these critters, without causing any harm to them or the environment. PVC has been under attack by the action of insects for decades; however we are no closer to finding a solution for this problem than we were hundreds of years ago-until recently. C Tech Corporation provides an exceptional solution for this dilemma!

C Tech Corporation offers a solution called Termirepel™ which is a non-toxic, non-hazardous additive that helps us keep insects at bay without causing any harm to the insect or any other species that consumes or comes in contact with it. It is a broad spectrum additive that works against more than 500 species of insects! It is an eco-friendly product that can be safely incorporated in polymers or coated on surfaces to repel insects and other animals without killing them. Termirepel™ is available in masterbatch and lacquer form, or as a liquid solution.  This product can be safely incorporated into the PVC insulation of wires and cables to keep pesky critters from damaging them!

Wood wasp’s affinity to wood – A cause for worry

The names “wood wasp” is a wood-boring insect in the order Hymenoptera, family Siricidae. Of download (1)greatest concern are the large, non-stinging wasps that normally are attracted to and complete their life cycles in newly dead or dying conifer trees. Timber salvaged from these trees can be processed into infested lumber. This can lead to adult wasps emerging in recently completed buildings or structures.

The dozen species of wood wasps in California, Oregon, and Washington look similar. They are large insects, generally 1 inch or longer, and wasplike in appearance but have an elongated, cylindrical body without a noticeable constriction or “waist.” They often are black or metallic dark blue or combinations of black, red, I-HY-SCAL-AD.001and yellow. They make a noisy buzz when flying. A female wood wasp drills her ovipositor nearly 3/4 inch into the wood of a weakened or dying tree and lays 1 to 7 eggs. At the same time, she squirts in a fungus from her abdominal gland. She continues this process, laying up to 200 eggs.

The eggs hatch in around 4 weeks and the larva spends its time eating the wood-destroying fungi that its mother thoughtfully injected along with the egg. At the base of the ovipositor there is a pair of glands that contain the fruiting bodies of the fungus, and some of these are injected with each egg.

Wood wasp damage in buildings is more cosmetic than structurally weakening. The total Wood-wasp-resting-on-timbernumber of insects emerging in any one house is limited, usually fewer than a dozen. Emerging wood wasps can chew through just about any substance, and you can see their large exit holes in wallboard or plaster walls, hardwood floors, linoleum, carpeting, nonceramic floor tiles, and other interior surfaces.

Wood wasps don’t reinfest structures. Even if male and female wood wasps had the HYW13_09opportunity to mate in the building, the females would not be stimulated to lay eggs in dry, finished lumber.

Though they are not as aggressive as carpenter ants or drywood termites, their presence is not welcomed equally. Let’s take a look at the following news article on wood wasp;

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That’s what you call a sting operation: Police seal off house on holiday Island after seven meter wasps nest found

By Steve Nolan, 12 April 2013
A seven metre long wasps nest has reportedly been discovered in an abandoned house by police officers in Spain.

Officers were called to the empty property in San Sebastian de La Gomera on the island of Tenerife after a series of calls from concerned neighbors. Police sealed off the home when the found the 22ft nest, which is said to have almost filled a room, and millions of wasps in the house, according to UPI.com.

Experts believe that the nest was built by an African species of wasp which had migrated to Tenerife.

The Canary Islands are located around 100km from the African coast.

Police are said to be trying to find out who the property belongs to.

The nest may well be the biggest ever found.

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest one found to date was discovered in Waimaukau in New Zealand in April 1963 and was an impressive 3.7metres, or 12ft 2ins long, more than 5ft in diameter and 18ft in circumference.

Thought to have been created by German wasps, that nest was so heavy that it fell from the tree it was hanging in and broke in two. 

The size, type and colour of a wasps nest depends on the species of wasp that builds it.

They tend to be predominantly made from paper pulp – the wasp gathers wood fibres from weathered wood and softens it by chewing and mixing with saliva.

The previous biggest nest in the last 50 years was discovered in the attic of a pub in Southampton, Hampshire, in 2010.

Measuring 6ft by 5ft the nest was home to an estimated 500,000 wasps.

Another giant nest was found at the Avery Garden Centre in Taunton, Somerset last summer.

The average common wasp nest contains around 4,000 to 5,000 wasps – but colonies have been known to reach populations of 20,000.
Though the wood wasps are mild in comparison to termites and carpenter ants, no one wants to wants to discover a big foul wood wasp nest in our house.

To curb this problem of the wood wasp, a unique solution in contrast to the typical hazardous, non-effective has to be adopted. And there is a solution, infact a Green solution provided by C Tech Corporation: TERMIREPEL™. Termirepel™ is a non-toxic, non-hazardous and environment friendly product, with a high efficacy to repel insects like wood borers from the wood. Termirepel™ is a multitasking product; along with wood wasp it protects the wood from vicious termites, notorious carpenter ants and other insects. Termirepel™ in solution form can be injected at 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 as coating so as to prevent further infestation.

The Annoying blue bugs of autumn!

Since time immemorial, the entire insect world has seemed intent on either stealing our blood or stinging us or ruining our crops and plants. Either way, they can make life miserable. People spend a lot of time in their yards, planting, pruning, and caring for their landscapes, with the aim of protecting their plants and trees from insects and making sure that they grow beautifully. However, many trees and shrubs have problems with pests such as aphids or other sucking insects. These insects excrete honeydew, a sweet, partially digested plant sap that is a main food of many ants. Plants with these sucking pests not only attract ants, but help feed and grow entire ant colonies. One such type of aphid is the blue ash aphid.

Woolly aphids (1)Blue ash aphids are small, blue-coloured insects that come from blue ash trees. They arrive after the first frost of the new winter season melts away every year. These insects are known by several names, conifer root aphid, blue ash aphid, Oregon ash aphid or smoky-winged ash aphid. Aphids feed by piercing host tissue and sucking plant sap through tube-like mouth parts. While removing plant sap, aphids may also inject toxins, plant growth regulators or pathogens along with saliva to aid feeding. Aphids excrete large amounts of honeydew which is essentially unprocessed plant sap. Many insects use honeydew and therefore are attracted to these colonies. The congregations give tree trunks a fuzzy blue appearance that extends up to three feet away from the base. Damage to the roots of fir trees can cause yellowing and stunting of small immature firs.

The blue ash aphids have a similar life cycle as normal, but instead of attacking the above ground parts of the plant they attack the roots of the plant. Like ordinary aphids they suck the sap from the plant thereby weakening it and possibly transmitting viruses and other diseases. When the infestation is heavy the plant or tree will wilt especially on dry days. The leaves may turn yellow and fall prematurely and the plant will be stunted. These pests often go largely unnoticed because they are underground. The damage they do show up mostly when the conditions are dry.

The below article would help understand the situation better.

khq

Blue ash aphids invade Spokane

 Posted: Oct 20, 2009

Kevin Randal

7631963_origSPOKANE, Wash. – Millions of little blue bugs can be seen just about anywhere in the Northwest.

You’ve probably seen them, there in your face, they invade your yard and many are asking what can be done to stop them.

Experts say the bugs are Blue Ash Aphids that come from Blue Ash Trees in the area. They come after the first frost of the season every year and stay for a couple weeks at least.

Phone calls have been flooding pest control companies and garden shops wanting to know how to get rid of them. Experts tell KHQ local news there’s nothing anyone can do but wait for them to leave.

Trees and plants should not be affected by them because most plant life has gone dormant anyway.

Experts also say they’re not a threat to public health.

The blue ash aphids are more of a nuisance than a threat. They are harmless to humans except for the sneezes they cause as we breathe them in. These pesky little gnat-like insects make breathing a challenge. Since they arrive in large swarms, complete eradication is not worth the time or effort and may be impossible. Thus we need a foolproof solution to deal with these pests.

At C Tech Corporation, we offer a safe and foolproof solution to deal with these tiny insects. Termirepel™ is a non-toxic, non-hazardous product that primarily repels insects from the application. It is a broad spectrum repellent which works against almost 500 species of pestering bugs thus efficaciously fending them away from the application. The best feature of this product is that it is environmentally safe and causes no harm to the insect as well as humans and the environment. It is available in masterbatch and lacquer form, and as a liquid solution. To keep these insects at bay, this product can be coated on the tree trunks in lacquer form. The repelling mechanism of the product would ward off the blue ash aphids and any other insect that could harm our trees.

Attack of the Bagrada Bugs!

At a time when increasing agricultural produce and improving agricultural yield is given paramount importance, our fruits and vegetables have been under siege by one more pest. Bagrada-hilaris2This is the adult Bagrada bug, which goes after winter crops such as cabbage, kale, broccoli, arugula, cauliflower and radish. It sucks the sap out of tender leaves, leaving puncture marks and a stippled or wilted leaf. The Bagrada bug, Bagrada hilaris, also called the painted bug, is a stink bug that attacks various vegetable crops and weedy mustards and is particularly devastating to young seedlings and leafy greens. Native to northern Africa, the Bagrada turned up in the United States in Los Angeles in the June of 2008.

 The Bagrada sucks the juices from the bite and leaves a toxic sort of saliva at the scene of the crime that can cause the plant to die even after the bug has left. Further, even if the Bagrada’s sap-sucking ways aren’t fatal, they can cause extensive wilting and yellowing, and stunt the growth of their hosts. These vile pests feed by inserting piercing mouth parts into plant tissues, which creates starburst-shaped lesions on leaves and stems. Continued feeding causes leaf scorch, stunting, blind terminals and forked or multiple heads on broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. Initial damage to leaves is observed along the margins as stippling, or small tan or white dots left where the leaves were pierced by insect mouthparts and the juices sucked out. If feeding pressure is severe enough, the stippled areas merge and the leaf eventually wilts and dies.

 Adding to their nastiness is the fact that Bagradas bagrada_bugs_r620x349are capable of flying up wind to find new plants to feast on, and that they lay most of their eggs in the soil, thus making traditional predators worthless as possible controls. The infestation may be widespread covering the stems and leaves of the tree, leaving faecal droppings on the backsides of leaves. Local growers estimated that in some fields Bagrada bugs caused as much as 35% yield loss in green cabbage and greater than 35% yield loss in red cabbage! In broccoli, damage estimates by growers have ranged from 15‐30% losses due to these insects.

 The severity of this issue can be better understood by reading the below article.

  grower

Pesky Bagrada bugs expand northward in California

 09/16/2014 

Vicky Boyd

Bagrada bugs, which were first confirmed in California six years ago, have been steadily expanding their range to the east and north.

They now have been confirmed as far north as Yolo County and have taken up residence in counties stretching from Santa Clara and San Mateo west to Fresno and Inyo counties, according to a University of California news release.

The university has tracked the pest’s expansion using citizen scientists.

Bagrada bugs, which have also hit crops in Arizona’s Yuma Valley, prefer cruciferous vegetables, such as cabbage, kale, cauliflower, brussels sprouts and broccoli.

In home gardens, they also have been found on green beans, cantaloupe, corn, peppers, potatoes, tomatoes and sunflowers.

In addition, the bugs have been found on ornamentals, including sweet alyssum, stock and candytuft.

Adult Bagrada bugs are about the size of a watermelon seeds with black backs and white and orange markings.

1Immature nymphs are more round with red, black and white markings. They can be mistaken for ladybird beetles.

Both adults and nymphs have piercing and sucking mouth parts. As they feed, they remove plant sap and cause dead spots plant leaves and stems where they feed.

Under severe infestations, especially with young transplants, the pest can stunt, deform and even kill plants.

Originally it was hoped that Northern California’s colder winter temperatures would help prevent their northerly march.

But bugs simply take up refuge in the top layer of soil around the crops and appear to survive.

The Bagrada bug lays most of its eggs in the soil, so natural predators such as wasps aren’t effective controls. Picking the bugs off plants by hand is not feasible because the infestations are so thick and sudden, with multiple generations occupying one plant at a time. Thus we need a solution which would effectively keep the Bagrada population in check, keeping them away from our vegetables and crops, while at the same time not having any negative impact on the vegetables or the environment.

C Tech Corporation offers a product called Termirepel™, which is a non-toxic, non-hazardous, environmentally safe insect repellent. It can repel more than 500 species of insects on account of it being a broad spectrum anti-insect repellent. The most striking feature of Termirepel™ is that it neither kills the target species, nor the non-target species. It will simply keep the insects away from the application. This product is available in masterbatch and lacquer form, and as a liquid solution. Termirepel™ can be added in mulches or incorporated in agricultural bags and films, which could be used to keep our vegetables and fruits safe and guarded against the pesky Bagrada bugs!

Termirepel™ to protect our Crape Myrtles!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACrape myrtles are beautiful trees that showcase their beauty in candy colours every summer. Unfortunately, the trees that brighten our hottest months are under attack by a foreign invader. Have you seen a strange white cottony growth on the trunks of beautiful crape myrtles? If you look closely, you’ll notice that it is alive! Meet the crape myrtle scale. It destroys the bark of crape myrtles causing a lot of damage in a small amount of time. It’s also accompanied by heavy layer of black sooty mold on the branches. Crape myrtle Bark Scale is a small insect that appears as a white or grey felt-like encrustation.  They may be found anywhere on crape myrtles, and often appear near pruning sites and branch crotches of more mature wood.

Generally, the first sign of crape myrtle bark scale is the black sooty mold on the tree bark. The scale excretes honeydew that coats leaves and limbs, resulting in a sticky coating from the excess sugars excreted from the insects’ feeding. Sooty mold grows on the honeydew.  This results in a black coating that appears on the bark of the branches and trunks of crape myrtles. Additionally, white cases are visible, and they enclose the adult female scales. The tiny pest was first identified in the Dallas area about 10 years ago and is believed to have entered the country from Asia. Since then, it’s been slowly making its way across the South, arriving in Shreveport-Bossier City about four years ago. Infestations have also been verified in Houma, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee and Georgia.

It was reported that out of the 430 Crape CrapeMyrtleBarkScaleShreveportIILOWMyrtle trees on the campus of Louisiana State University in Shreveport, 60 percent of these iconic trees are affected by the Bark Scale. Scales can be found on various parts of the tree as oval, white, crusted clusters of insects with a powdery waxy appearance. The insects don’t seem to be fatal to trees, but they are unsightly and weaken trees so they aren’t likely to bloom profusely. The bark scale has been known to stress the tree and make it less healthy. The scale gives these beautiful trees a burnt appearance which makes them look unsightly and weak.

The below article would explain the situation better.

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“Pest” Disfiguring Crape Myrtles in McKinney

By Catherine Ross

May 5, 2014

A pest is leaving its mark on one of North Texas’ favorite flowering plants.

In McKinney, the crape myrtle has become an emblem of the city where this year they received congressional recognition as “America’s Crape Myrtle City.”

The plant is native to Southeast Asia but has been cultivated throughout warm climates, including Texas.

“We’re really proud of crape myrtles and our association with crape myrtles,” said Neil Sperry, renowned Texas horticulturalist and a board member of the Crape Myrtle Trails of McKinney.

Sperry said his organization, over the last decade, has helped plant 20,000 crape myrtles within city limits.

However, over the same time, something “unsightly” has also taken root in the plants.

“It’s moved up through Collin County over the years and become a serious problem,” said Dr. Greg Church, the Collin County AgriLife Extension Agent through Texas A&M.  “[It's] two different organisms, making the plant look bad.”

Church said little insects feed off the plants, in turn, excreting honey dew.  That substance attracts a “sooty mold fungus,” which transforms the bark.

The pest is called “crape myrtle bark scale” and, according to experts, is threatening both the aesthetics and the utility of the plant.

“During drought conditions, which we’ve experienced the past three years, it can weaken the plant,” Church said.

There have been no plant deaths attributed to the bark scale, but the condition is spreading across the American South, specifically in the past two years, though it’s been present in North Texas since 2004.

Church said if the plant is manageably small enough, the bark scale can be cleaned off with water and some light soap.

However, Sperry recommends placing insecticide at the roots of larger crape myrtle and clusters.

7-4-11 001Crape myrtle is one of the few trees that bear colourful flower displays through much of the summer, come in a variety of stunning colours, is easy to grow, and until now has been relatively pest free. Unfortunately, the pest-free reputation is changing with the advent of the bark scale. With their extremely high reproduction potential, there could be at least two generations of the bark scale in one year. This can be a difficult pest to control and it may take multiple years of treatment.  So, how do we fight this pest?  Keep reading!

C Tech Corporation provides a unique non-toxic product called Termirepel™ which is an environmentally safe insect repellent. It can repel more than 500 species of insects on account of it being a broad spectrum anti-insect repellent. The most striking feature of Termirepel™ is that it neither kills the target species, nor the non-target species. It will simply keep the insects away from the application. Termirepel™ in lacquer form can be coated on the trunks of our beloved crape myrtles, which would effectively keep the bark scale from infesting and causing the trees any damage!

Apple maggots eating damaging our apples!

5534611Apple maggot is a native pest of the eastern United States and Canada. In 1979 it was discovered in Oregon and has since moved into California, Washington, and other Western states. Hawthorn and apples are favored host plants, but cherries, pears, and other fruits have been attacked.

Adult flies are somewhat smaller than houseflies and have clear wings with characteristic black bands, a pronounced white spot on the back of the thorax, 220px-Rhagoletis_pomonellaand a black abdomen with light-colored crossbands. Female flies have four crossbandson the abdomen, and males have three. The apple maggot is closely related to the walnut husk fly and cherry fruit fly. It can be distinguished from these other pests by the banding on its wings.However, it is difficult to distinguish apple maggot from snowberry maggot, a close look-alike that occurs throughout California but that does not attack apples and pears. The larvae of the Apple Maggot Fly (Rhagoletis pomonella) can do serious, wide spread damage to an apple crop, causing fruit to drop prematurely and deforming and rendering mature fruit worthless. This is the most serious pest for the kitchen orchardist. The maggots live inside the apple until it drops to the ground, then they leave and make a cocoon in the top 5 to 10 cm (2 to 4 inches) of soil.

Maggot1Female apple maggot adults deposit eggs singly under the apple skin. Damage is caused when larvae burrow and feed on apple flesh. Browning of the trails occurs as the apple responds to this injury and bacteria associated with maggots cause fruits to rot internally. They can attack immature fruit starting in June or July and successive flights can continue laying eggs into the fall. The eggs hatch within a few days as larvae.

Using their needle sharp ovipositor, the female fly lays one egg in a pin size puncture in the skin Maggot2of the apple (ovipositing). She capable of depositing an average of 200 eggs and therefore can infect a lot of apples. In young apples the puncture will cause the skin to form a dimple as the apple grows and it (the dimple) is sometimes covered with a white wax. Female flies prefer to lay the eggs on fruit which is beginning to ripen, and therefore they will often be found in early apple varieties first. Apple maggots hatch and burrow inside the apple making brown decaying tunnels through the flesh and seldom entering the core. This burrowing usually disfigures the apple’s outside shape. The brown trails are what has earned the maggot the common name “railroad worm”. Damaged apples may appear to ripen early and drop prematurely. Given a choice, the female fly will seek out the earlier, softer apple varieties first. If she lays eggs in harder, immature apples or in the later winter varieties, some maggots may die due to the hardness of the fruit. Abandoned orchards may have almost all of the apples infested with the maggots.

Maggot4These flies are slightly smaller than the common house fly. If they are in an orchard of early bearing varieties of apples, the flies may have a tendency to emerge earlier. Their Zebra striped wings make them easy to identify although there are some other similar fruit fly relatives with slightly different stripe patterns (like the cherry fruit fly). The male apple maggot flies are smaller than the females and only have three white stripes on the abdomen instead of four. There is a period of 8 to 10 days after emerging when they are feeding and becoming reproductively mature before they start laying eggs (referred to as the preoviposition period). Eggs are laid in the earlier maturing, softer varieties of apples first. The magtrailmaggots stay in the apples until they ripen and fall to the ground. Mid July to mid August is when they can be found in the greatest numbers although some can be found until mid September.

These worms remain inside the apple damaging them and the real trouble is when such apples find their way into our home. Let’s take a look at the following article highlighting the trouble caused by these pests;

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CORE BLIMEY! PREGNANT MUM FINDS MAGGOT IN APPLE; Vanessa Sick after Biting into Rotten Fruit

Byline: Tina Junday NEWS REPORTER

A PREGNANT woman was horrified after finding a maggot wriggling out of an apple she was eating at her Coventry home.

While I’m a Celebrity stars might be used to chomping on such “delicacies” in the Australian jungle, Vanessa Ryan was sickened to find the creature in the fruit.

The 25-year-old, who is about to give birth, had taken two bites of the apple, which was bought in a supermarket, when she realised there was a maggot inside.

She threw the apple onto the mantelpiece and watched in horror as the maggot slithered onto the wall at her home in Dallington Avenue, Coundon.

She then ran to the bathroom and was sick.

Her husband Ciaran, 25, had bought the pack of apples from the Morrisons store, in Holyhead Road, for their five-year-old daughter Jessica.

Vanessa, who works as a customer services adviser for Coventry Building Society, said: “I’m surprised I didn’t go into labour after that. It was disgusting. I fancied an apple – it looked fine.

“I took the first bite and ate it but when I took the second bite the whole apple fell apart in my hand and this maggot was staring back at me.

“I spat out the piece of apple I’d eaten and threw the apple on to the mantelpiece.

“It made me sick – it was the last thing I wanted being pregnant. I’ve already gone through morning sickness. …

Concrete steps have to be taken to protect the apples from these vile pests. Use of toxic pesticides is definitely not the answer. The solution adopted should be such that the non-toxic and does harm the environment while protecting the apples.

Termirepel™; a solution of C Tech Corporation is both effective and efficient and it does not harm target or non-target species. Termirepel™ is a non-toxic, non-hazardous and environment friendly product which works against pests like termites, ants, beetles and near about 500 species of other insects including apple sawfly. Termirepel™ is available in masterbatch form and can be incorporated in agricultural film and mulches to protect the plantation. It is available in liquid form and can be sprayed around the apple trees.

Termirepel™ works on the mechanism of repellence and is the best green solution available to protect fruits, crops, vegetation from the voracious pests.

 

Termites can drive you crazy!

imagesTermites though extremely small and tiny creatures have managed to stir us humans into noticing them and acknowledging their existence. The primary reason is the tune of damage they cause which has a direct impact on the economy of the country and thus the humans. Termites attack in groups and feed on any form of cellulose especially wood. This little bit of trivia makes us realize that almost everything around us is susceptible to a termite attack. Termites always seek for moisture filled places and therefore basements and the space under wooden boards are their favorable infestation places. Termite damage often looks similar to water damage. Outward signs of termite damage include buckling wood, swollen floor sand ceilings, areas that appear to be suffering from slight water damage and visible mazes within walls or furniture. Termite infestations also can exude a scent similar to mildew or mold. Dry wood termite infestations may only become apparent after a colony has burrowed so deeply into an infested item that the veneer cracks and the maze-like tunnels beneath become visible. Such damage is common in antique furniture pieces.

 

Termite swarm season will arrive with warmer weather

RUTH CORRELL

MAR 26, 2014

 

Subterranean termites are the most destructive wood-feeding insect in Tennessee, and even though they do their part to recycle dead and fallen trees back into the soil, termites can also attack the wood, paper and other wood scrap sources around a home, according to University of Tennessee entomologist, Dr. Karen Vail.

The National Pest Management Association estimates that it costs the U.S. about $5 billion per year to repair and treat damage caused by these insects.

Dr. Vail says that termite signs should be easy to spot. “The termite swarm season will be starting shortly. Winged termites will fly, drop to the ground, drop their wings and search for a moist, protected area to mate and start their colony. In a home, the swarmers, or a pile of their wings, are often found on the window sill.”

Winged termites can be distinguished from winged ants fairly easily. Termite wings are nearly equal in size and shape, but the ant’s front wings are larger than the hind wings. Winged termites have straight antennae and the ants are elbowed. The termite thorax is broadly attached to the abdomen, but in the ant, the waist is pinched. In Tennessee, termite swarmers are typically dark brown to black.
Termite workers on the other hand are white, soft-bodied wingless insects that travel above ground in mud tubes that are as least as wide as a pencil. It is recommended to search your basement, crawlspace or foundation walls and look for these tubes.

When termites damage wood, they eat the softer wood and leave behind the denser wood giving the wood a layered effect. Mud will probably be present in the layers. Termite-damaged wood will be soft and allow a screwdriver to easily penetrate. Puckered paint may indicate termites are feeding below the surface.

If you do discover termites, it’s definitely time to call a pest management professional. Suggestions for choosing a pest management firm and termite control strategy can be found in the UT Extension publication Subterranean Termite Control. You may download a free copy from the UT Extension publications website. Enter the name of the publication into the site’s search engine.
Dr. Vail reminds consumers not to be pressured into signing a contract with a pest control agency immediately. Termite damage occurs slowly. The amount of damage caused by taking an additional day, week, or month to make an informed decision is negligible.
Many structures were pretreated with a soil termiticide before the house was built and, if properly done, treatment should provide at least 5 years of protection. At other homes, a professionally installed and maintained termite baiting system may detect and treat termites. However, if wood or wood scraps were buried in the backfill, or under porches or steps, or if spreader boards or grade stakes were not removed before the concrete set, then termite food was left in place. Construction site preparation, installation and cleanup determine some of a structure’s susceptibility to subterranean termites.

The following suggestions can be followed to help make a home less conducive to subterranean termite invasion:

• Reduce the amount of cellulose around the structure. Keep a 12- to 18-inch bare zone next to the foundation and use inorganic mulches (pea gravel or river stone) instead of plant-based ones “near” the foundation. Replace wooden landscape timbers with those made of other materials such as concrete or vinyl. Don’t stack firewood against the house. Keep tree roots from getting close to the foundation.

• Reduce moisture sources around the home or building. Ensure the irrigation system is working properly. Termites love moisture to make mud tubes and for mating. Repair outdoor water faucet leaks quickly. Keep crawlspaces dry by either using a plastic cover with ventilation or by using an encapsulation system. The finished grade outside the house should slope away from the house to prevent water from collecting under the house. 

Termites can be controlled but total elimination is less certain. The homeowner should be vigilant at all times.

Thus we can see the extent of damage termites have caused and will continue to cause in the long run. This is an extremely unsettling revelation and needs immediate attention.

New methods need to be devised to exterminate this ever- hanging threat to our precious wooden structures. The time has come for going the unconventional way here. We at C Tech Corporation can provide a long lasting and effective solution to combat termite infestations. Our product Termirepel™ is a non-toxic and non- hazardous termite aversive. It is effective against a host of termite species including dampwood termites as also the most aggressive ones. It is available in the form of polymer compatible masterbatches as well as in lacquer form. Termirepel™ is the one and only effective solution to our termite woes!