Trouble in Paradise

It was a wet summer in New Hampshire. We’ve had torrential downpours, flooding, high humidity, and a good stretch of sweltering 90°+ weather.  For a while there in July, life was made miserable by weather conditions.

I can’t help but think the summer weather conditions took a toll on flora, too. Several plants around this yard are showing signs of fungus and predation from pests. Most are easy to identify but I was stumped by two conditions. From an online search I identified the first pest, the Pine Bark Adelgid (Pineus strobi), that prefers to feed on the bark of white pines (Pinus strobus). Two mature white pines in the yard look whitewashed, the white protection created by females to protect eggs. Chemical measures to protect the health of a mature tree is seldom required but the insect can be combated with dormant oil sprays, insecticidal soaps as well as insecticides. Since I rarely use insecticides to prevent harm to beneficial insects, I may treat with dormant oils or insecticidal soaps in early spring…. or I’ll just ignore it.

Pine Bark AdelgidPine Bark AdelgidPine Bark AdelgidThe second mystery pest required contacting Eric Day, an entomologist with Virginia Tech who taught my Virginia master gardener classes. I knew it was a scale of some sort on the lilac which one? Eric narrowed it down. He ID-ed it as White Peach Scale (Pseudaulacaspis pentagona), a more serious infestation as it removes the sap from the host plant. Eric suggested I contact local extension experts to see how to handle this pest in New Hampshire. Treatment may be different in the south.

White Peach ScaleWhite Peach ScaleAfter zooming in on a photo of these tiny grains of white, there in the midst of the pests is another pest. A small purple scale eater, too tiny to be noticed with the naked eye, was moving about dining on scale creatures. It was obviously the larva stage of another insect.

White Peach ScaleClick to enlarge photos.

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