Pinyon Needle Scale- A menace to our beloved Pine trees!

rdyPinyon pine is a beautiful tree, offering incredible structure to a desert. One of the slowest growing trees among the conifers, the Pinyon pine can take up to a hundred years to produce a single cone. The trees yield edible pinyon nuts, which are widely eaten by the Native Americans. Annual harvest of wild pinyon nuts exceeds a million pounds! The wood, especially when burned, has a distinctive fragrance, making it a common wood to burn in chimineas.  The pinyon pine trees are also known to influence the soil in which they grow. Sadly, these amazing trees are under attack by small, black, bean shaped invasive insects known as the Pinyon needle scales. These insects can cause the leaves of Pinyon pine trees to fall off and could also kill the tree!

These tiny, sap-sucking insects kill the needles and severely weaken Pinyon pines in forests. Reduced new growth and stunted needles are common on trees suffering repeated attacks. The needle length is reduced and needles drop prematurely. Heavy infestations frequently kill small trees and predispose weakened larger trees to attack by other insects. Feeding by adult females and nymphs causes the needles to turn yellow and prematurely fall. Most defoliation occurs on older needles, producing a tufted appearance with younger needles primarily persisting on infested trees. Small trees with scales can die in a few years when untreated. However, larger trees suffer more slowly, losing one or a couple branches at a time until they die.

This insect is most common and damaging in the fhdrUnited States, particularly in southern Colorado. Historic outbreaks were noted in 1957-1963 in southeast Nevada and southwest Utah, affecting several hundred thousand acres. In 2009, approximately 7% of Nevada’s pinyon forest mapped was affected by this insect. In 2010, nearly 1,161,000 acres of the approximately 9,950,000 acres of pinyon in Nevada were mapped as scale-defoliated. This represents 11.6% of Nevada’s pinyon forest!

The graveness of the issue can be better understood from the following article,

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Pinyon needle scale eggs killing trees in some AZ cities

 Allison Miller

Apr 11, 2011

PRESCOTT, AZ – Spring is providing us with warmer temperatures and beautiful spring blooms.

However, these warmer temperatures have already caused native insects, called pinyon needle scales to emerge. 

These insects can cause leaves of Pinyon pine trees to fall off and could also kill the tree.

Because of the warm temperatures, the female scales have already laid their eggs on the trees and will hatch in May. 

They can be found over thousands of acres including the Prescott area up the northwest to the Williamson Valley and are also spreading across the Payson area.

They look like noticable clusters of yellow eggs held together in loose, white, cottony webbing found in branch crotches, along the underside of branches, on the trunk, and at the base of the tree.

Bob Celaya, Forest Health Specialist says the eggs need to be spotted and treated as quickly as possible since they can kill small trees within a few years and large trees may take several years to die.

 Evidently, unless proper measures are taken, the Pinyon pines may soon become extinct due to the Pinyon needle scale. Infested pine trees can be treated with chemicals and insecticides or by washing off the eggs from the surface of the trees before they get a chance to hatch. However, the efforts and costs associated with these methods, as well as the environmental safety concerns about applying toxic insecticides, make these techniques less feasible on a broad scale in natural areas.

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 Pinyon needle scale and any other insect that could harm the pine trees. Thus, using Termirepel™ would effectively ensure that our cherished pines remain safe and protected from this destructive pest!

The Ever Annoying Lygus Bug!

htd One of our most important competitors for food, fibre, and other natural resources, since time immemorial, has been insects. These pests have a direct impact on agricultural food production as they cause damage by chewing the leaves of crop plants, sucking out plant juices, boring within the roots, stems or leaves, and spreading plant pathogens. Every year millions of dollars are lost because of insect damage in agriculture. One such pesky creature, contributing to this damage is the lygus bug. Lygus bug, also called tarnished plant bug, is a destructive oval-shaped insect that causes serious damage in fruit orchards, herbaceous plants, vegetable crops, commercial flower plants, and nursery stock.

Lygus bug has a wide host range of more than 350 plants! In general, lygus bug prefers grains, vegetables, and weeds near crops. When lygus bugs are present in high numbers, seed set and maturation may be reduced by nearly 100%. These pests inject toxic saliva into the plant and cause seed structures to die and drop off the plant. Even moderate feeding can cause premature bud shed, deformed seeds and reduced seed viability. Injured seeds will turn brown or black and will not germinate. In western Canada, lygus bugs reduced yields by approximately 7%; while in southern Manitoba, yields were reduced by almost 20%!

Lygus bugs, while infesting fruits like peaches, pears and strawberries, may cause dimpling, also known as catfacing. Lygus bugs also cause fire blight disease, which they spreaddownload throughout the area as they feed. This disease causes the flowers to turn brown and wilt and twigs to shrivel and blacken, often curling at the ends. In more advanced cases of fire blight infection, cankers begin to form on branches. These discoloured oozing patches contain masses of fire blight bacteria and heavy infections can be fatal. It was reported that in one field near Glendale, United States, about 90% of the cotton crops, valued at $16,000,000, was destroyed through the attack of this insect. 

This article published in The Western Producer will highlight the severity of the damage caused by the lygus bug.

Alberta at high risk for lygus bugs

Posted on Aug. 1st, 2014

By Barbara Duckworth

 BROOKS, Alta. — It is time to start sweeping canola fields for lygus bugs.

This summer’s heat, with temperatures at or above 30 C, is encouraging faster reproduction of the damaging insects, said Scott Meers, an entomologist with Alberta Agriculture.

“This year will be a high risk for lygus. You should start sweeping,” he said.

Two or more bugs captured per sweep means it is time to spray, he told a Canola Galla education day held at Alberta Agriculture’s Crop Development Centre at Brooks.

“I expect we are going to get into the typical race between harvest and lygus damaging the crop,” he said.

Adults and larvae suck plant juices so that flowers abort and pods fall off. Feeding on the older pods causes the seeds to shrivel or the pods to be deformed.

Alberta Agriculture is monitoring 311 sites along Highway 2 down the centre of the province. The department has found lygus bugs as well as plenty of bertha army worms and a few diamondback moths. However, the monitoring has found no Swede midges.

In some years, spraying for cabbage seed pod weevils will also catch lygus bugs, but it is not uncommon to have to spray lygus twice.

“We don’t want to encourage prescription spraying, but if you spray for cabbage seed pod weevil, then the general trend is that if we get the timing right for cabbage seed pod weevil, then we seldom have trouble with lygus,” he said.

C)-02The most common tool used to manage lygus bugs are insecticides. However, besides being extremely toxic and harmful to the environment, most insecticides used for lygus control will destroy beneficial insects which help keep white flies and other pests in check. Moreover, studies show that the more exposed the bug is to the insecticide, the more resistant the bug will be. Inspite of that, insecticide application was the only option available for the control of lygus bugs once populations reached economic threshold levels, until now.

Now, we no longer have to depend on these conventional, toxic insecticides to deal with these pests! C Tech Corporation offers a range of non-toxic, non-hazardous anti-insect aversive, which can be successfully used to keep pesky creatures at bay. Termirepel™ is a broad spectrum aversive which works against almost 500 species of damaging insects. The most appealing feature of this product is that it is an environment-friendly repellent which causes no harm to the target or the non-target species! It is available in masterbatch and lacquer form, and as a liquid solution. Thus, by incorporating Termirepel™ in agricultural films and mulches, crops would be efficaciously protected against these menacing insects!