THE BAW Baw Shire Council is warning green thumbs to keep an eye out for a bug called the Giant Pine Scale.
Above: An adult giant pine scale. Image by Andrea Battisti via DEPI.
Baw Baw Shire mayor Debbie Brown said that the insect “does not pose a health risk to people or animals.”
However, it can cause “dehydration and branch dieback” and can eventually kill pine, fir and spruce trees.
“Gardeners should be on the lookout for a distinctive white, cotton-like wax secretion,” Cr Brown said in a media release.
This infestation has affected more than 500 trees from the Monash, Casey, Yarra Ranges and Cardinia districts.
While the pest has not yet reached Baw Baw, Cr Brown said it was necessary to know the signs and how to confront the problem.
The Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDTR) is combating the issue to ensure the well-being of Australia’s billion dollar softwood plantation industry.
Over the coming months, the DEDTR will search for cases of Giant Pine Scale to gauge the situation.
“The insects themselves are between 1-12 millimetres in length and prefer the lower part of the trees,” Cr Brown said.
“Most infested trees can be safely treated with a chemical injection, but in some circumstances may need to be removed.
“To reduce further spread, it’s best not to touch, move or collect suspected samples or parts of infected trees.”
If gardeners see any indication of the scale, a report can be made via the toll-free Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881.
Concerned home owners can also email photos of the affected area with a contact phone number and address to email@example.com.
Above: The white cotton-like patches indicative of a Giant Pine Scale infestation. Image: DEPI.
Above: Giant pine scale eggs. Image: DEPI.
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