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There Are More Bugs Than EAB

The emerald ash borer’s aggressiveness has taken some of the heat off landscape pests that may appear more benign. However, these other pests are still around and need to be controlled. It is nearly impossible to completely eradicate an insect. However, they can be controlled.

Aphids and scale never take a break from eating. That’s because they reproduce so fast that their progeny take over when the adults die off. Even if you can’t see them, you’ll know when you have aphids in your trees. Their waste material is a sweet, sticky honey dew that drops anywhere under an infested tree.

Eastern tent caterpillars will soon begin building their webs in the forks or crotches of trees. In late summer, a fall webworm that is much like the eastern tent caterpillar will begin spinning its webs on branch ends.

White and paper birch trees are targets for the bronze birch borer and a leaf miner. Many viburnum shrubs in the area are the dining room table for the viburnum leaf beetle. In addition to these common pests, there are a number of moths like the gypsy moth that
pops up every once in a while around here. We also see an occasional spring or fall cankerworm, commonly called inchworm.

Entomologists tell us that insect damage is often secondary damage. Insects are adventitious creatures. They attack plants that are already weak. Most of the time, according to these experts, trees are weakened by diseases.

Keeping track of the insects and diseases threatening your valuable trees and shrubs could be a full time job. In most cases, however, these pests are hard for the non- entomologist or plant pathologist to identify. This means that the average do-it-yourselfer may use the wrong treatment against a pest. All purpose sprays are not really all purpose. They may treat a wide range if insects, but they are not effective against all pests.

Using all purpose insecticides and misuse of targeted insecticides is not good for the environment. It is how all insecticides get banned in various jurisdictions, such as Canada and on Long Island. An IPM (integrated pest management), or PHC (plant health care), program takes the burden of identifying and deciding on treatment options from your shoulders and puts it on an entomologist or PHC professional’s shoulder.

A PHC professional monitors pest activity in your yard so that the most effective treatment, or preventive, can be applied at the optimum time in the pest’s life cycle. The results are also monitored to be sure you have control. I certainly am happy that agriculture researchers developed this process, and that we have been able to adapt it.

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