Woolly Wax!A common problem facing our Pines is the Pine Bark Adelgid. These colorful insects produce a woolly wax, damaging shoots and immature branches. Adelgids secrete a protective fiber, giving the appearance of white, strand-like filaments. A tree presenting with this “woolly wax” has often been described as appearing snow-covered or whitewashed. The adelgid prefer the Eastern white pine but have been found on Austrian and Scotch pines as well. While older, more resilient trees can withstand an infestation, immature trees may be heavily damaged by the adelgid. These pines, in their weakened state, will then attract other invasive pests, such as the bark beetle.
Overwintered, immature females emerge every spring as purple, wingless adults. These are nymphs. Winged adults will not be present until the growing season. These nymphs begin to produce the fibrous woolly wax as a protective cocoon, in which she deposits small yellow eggs. Once these eggs hatch, they begin to feed. The adelgid feed on the tree’s trunk by sucking sap from the phloem. Phloem is the tissue by which a tree transports water and nutrients. Once these insects have inserted their mouth-parts, they can not move. The resulting generations will produce winged offspring. Flying from tree to tree, the winged adults infect surrounding pines while the flightless population remains and weakens the tree. Pine bark adelgids also secrete honeydew as they feed. This can lead to the growth of sooty mold.
Controlling an infestation can be approached either mechanically or chemically. Many beneficial insects are attracted to the tasty adelgids. Lady bugs and lacewings are an effective natural predator. A stiff brush may be used to manually remove clumps of the wax and many of the wingless adults. A strong jet of water was also help control small colonies of adelgids. When necessary, your arborist may remove infested trees or branches to prevent the spread before it becomes fatal.
Sprays are very effective! Our licensed arborists will effectively treat the invasive pests while respecting the beneficial and supportive insects on your property. Our targeted treatments will suppress the harmful pests and growths threatening your trees, while preserving and encouraging your natural protective fora and fauna.
We are here for all your plant and tree healthcare needs! Our arborists are always available to help you cultivate the very best from your home. We love your trees and so should you!
So as always,