Lords Environmental | Peach Tree Borers


[Peach Tree Borers]

There are two species of borers that attack peach trees in New York: The peachtree borer, Sanninoidea exitiosa, which feeds in the trunk at or just below soil level; and the lesser peachtree borer, Synanthedon pictipes, which feeds in the branches and limbs.

The adult borers are clear-winged moths with steel blue and yellow body markings. These insects are often mistaken for wasps to which they are not related. The lesser peachtree borer is a little smaller than the peachtree borer. The borers, or larvae of the two species, are difficult to tell apart, both being white and worm-like. Borers found at soil level may be of either species; however, the peachtree borer predominates here. Borers found in the trunk and branches are lesser peachtree borers.

The peachtree borer moths lay eggs on the tree trunks and in debris near the base of the trunk. The eggs hatch in 10-14 days, and the larvae immediately seek places for gaining entrance into the tree. Some peachtree borers may feed for two seasons before completing their life cycle development, but the majority require only one year. They overwinter as larvae and do not appear as a moth until July. Emergence is completed by late August. The peachtree borer female is capable of laying 600 or more eggs and begins egg laying several hours after emergence. Fortunately, only a few of the larvae which develop from the eggs succeed in becoming established.

The lesser peachtree borer moth places her eggs in cracks and crevices on the margins of wounds on the tree. Here again, the eggs hatch in 10 to 14 days, but these larvae quickly move to the nearest injured area where they can gain entrance into the tree. The lesser peachtree borer completes its life cycle in one year. The partially grown larvae overwinter and resume feeding in the spring as the tree begins growth. When peaches are in bloom the earliest lesser peachtree borers have completed feeding and begin to pupate. The moths emerge in late May and emergence continues throughout the summer.

Both species feed on the inner layer of bark killing the cambium and girdling the conductive tissue. Individual limbs or the entire tree may be killed by either of these borers.

The peachtree borer enters the tree at soil level and does not require holes or breaks in the bark for entry; however, the lesser peachtree borer seldom attacks sound bark but enters the tree at a pruning scar, canker, mechanically injured or winter injured area. Winter injury is the most common forerunner to borer injury.

Borer presence can be detected generally by observing gumming material mixed with frass excreted from the burrows. You should be aware, however, that gum secretions will occur at wounds on peach trees regardless of the cause of injury. To check for borers, scrape the gum away with a knife blade. A tunnel should be evident if borers are the cause.
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Psylla pyricola

[Pear Psylla] DESCRIPTION:
The adult pear psylla looks somewhat like a tiny cicada. Early season adults are small, 1/10th inch (2.12 mm) in length, and are a dark reddish brown color with black bands on the abdomen. The wings are held roof-like over the sides of the body and are nearly translucent. Eggs are yellowish orange and may be seen with the aid of a hand lens in creases of the bark. Newly hatched nymphs are yellowish, 1/80th inch in length. Late stage nymphs are hard shelled and wing pads may be seen forming. There may be three or four generations per year.

Adults of summer generations may differ from those of the hibernating generation being about one third smaller and have brighter (tan to light brown) coloring and different wing markings.

Pear psylla attacks all varieties of pears and may occasionally attack quince. It is a sucking insect and feeds on the plant sap. Heavy feeding plus the injection of toxic saliva by pear psylla may cause early defoliation and loss of the fruit crop. The nymphs secrete a sticky substance known as honeydew as they feed. A black sooty mold fungus forms on this honeydew and besides its unsightly appearance, it may cause damage by interrupting the normal process of photosynthesis. On the fruit a roughening or ërussetí of the skin occurs.

Adult psyllas overwinter on the trunks under flakes of bark or in crevices. If they are abundant, they may also be found under leaves on the ground. Adults emerge with the onset of warm weather (40 to 50 degrees F. or above) in the spring, mate, and begin laying eggs when temperatures reach 50-60 degrees F. Yellowish orange eggs are deposited in crevices in the bark and near the terminal buds. Most of the eggs will have hatched by the time the flower petals fall. Young nymphs migrate to the axils of leaf petioles and of forming fruit. As these sites become overcrowded, the nymphs move on to the undersides of the leaves.

Five immature (nymphal) stages are passed through before the winged adults appear. There are 3 to 4 generations per year in most of New York State. Females of the later generations will deposit most of the eggs along the leaf midribs. One female pear psylla may deposit up to 500 eggs.

Look for adults on the spurs and branches on warm days just prior to bud burst, and on the tender new shoots from green cluster through the remainder of the season until leaf drop. Eggs in the late dormant to bud burst are found singly or in rows on spurs and twigs, or around bud scales. Through the remainder of the growing season look on tender new growth for rows of eggs along the leaf midribs, especially under surfaces. Small nymphs are found from green cluster throughout the season on tender new growth; larger nymphs are found on leaves that are hardening off.
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What is a gall???? A gall is an abnormal development or outgrowth of plant tissue resulting from an irritation caused by bacteria, fungi, or insects. Bacteria may cause tumors on the stems and crowns of such plants as blackberry and roses. An example is crown gall. Cedar apple leaf galls are caused by a fungus. Insects (aphids, mites, wasps and flies) cause the majority of plant galls. Some of the common ones follow:


OAK APPLE GALL - A round, one to two inch in diameter growth with a spongy inside and a hard central core. These galls are seen on the leaves of scarlet and black oaks. They are caused by a tiny wasp and are usually seen in May or June.

OAK HEDGEHOG GALL - Present on the leaves of white oaks, these galls appear as tiny spheres covered with spines. Inside small wasps are developing. The galls are about .5 inch in diameter and are often a burnt red color.

MAPLE BLADDER GALLS - Caused by mites, the tiny growths are about 1/8 inch in size, with most of the swellings occurring on the upper leaf surfaces. The newly formed galls are a yellowish-green color. Towards the end of June they turn a rose color, and late in the season they are black.

MAPLE SPINDLE GALLS - Also caused by mites, they are found on soft maples and sugar maples. The galls are about 1/5 inch long and about as thick as a pencil lead. The galls stand erect and are easily seen and identified.

GOLDENROD BALL GALLS - Globe like galls seen on goldenrod stems in the fall and winter. The galls are quite hard and if cut open before spring, you will see a white-yellow fly larva inside.

ASH MIDRIB GALLS - Found in the center of the leaf along the midrib of white ash, this gall may be up to an inch in length and is plump and spindle-shaped. It is caused by a tiny fly called a midge.

COOLEY SPRUCE GALL - A 1 to 1 1/2 inch cone-shaped overgrowth that first appears on the tops of the spruce branches in early June. If cut open, one will find numerous tiny gray aphids (adelgids) inside. The galls open in August and September, and the adults emerge to lay eggs. The young adelgids overwinter on the buds and twigs of the host tree.

GOUTY OAK GALL - Caused by a wasp, these galls appear on the stems of black, red, pin and scarlet oaks. They have been known to cause small branches to be killed and break off the tree.

Other common galls include the hickory leaf and petiole gall, first appearing on leaf petioles and small stems in June as hollow green growths; they later turn black. The cause of this gall is a phylloxeran, a small aphid-like insect. The poplar petiole gall is seen as a swelling of the leaf petiole which turns black upon maturity, and it is caused by an aphid.

There are many plant galls in all shapes and sizes. We see them on leaves, stems, flowers, or even on roots. Galls interfere with the normal functions of twigs and other plant parts causing curling and stunting of growth. Death to the area beyond the gall often occurs. Most leaf galls are not seriously harmful to the plant, and they may at most cause a few leaves to fall off early. More often than not they are noticed because of their odd shapes and appearances and people naturally want to know if they are harmful to the plant.

CROWN GALL is one example of a gall that is harmful and often kills plants. It is caused by a bacterium. Crown gall is usually found at or near the soil level and appears as rough-shaped, hard or soft, spongy swollen tumors. The color of the galls varies from flesh-colored to greenish or dark. Where this gall is discovered it is best to discard the plant altogether.
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(Conotrachelus nenuphar)

[Plum Curculio] INJURY:
The plum curculio (PC) is a serious pest of plums, prunes, cherries and apples in New York. It also attacks apricot, nectarine, pear and quince as well as wild plum, hawthorn and native crabapples. This insect is most abundant in orchards adjoining hedgerows and woodlands that offer shelter for overwintering adults. Both feeding and egg laying scars result in russeted areas on the surface of the fruits. The crescent-shaped scar from oviposition is useful in diagnosing damage from this pest. Severely injured fruits become misshapen. Infested fruits often drop early and with smaller fruits, such as cherry, the entire fruit may be ingested by the larva.

The adult PC is a small 1/5 inch (6 mm) snout beetle, mottled with black, gray and brown. The beak or snout is º the body length and sharp biting jaws are located at the tip of the snout. The larva is a grayish-white, legless, slightly curved grub, about 1/3 inch (8 mm) long. Larvae are found inside fruits.

[Plum Curculio II]

The adults pass the winter hidden under leaves, along fence rows, in brush piles, rock walls and in other protected places. In spring when the weather warms up (mean temperature 60 degrees F. or maximum temperature above 75 degrees F.), about the same time apples are blooming, the adults become active. Emerging from overwintering quarters they feed on buds, blossoms and newly set fruit. The beetles attack the fruits as soon as they appear, usually at the shuck split in stone fruit. Some feeding injury occurs consisting of small round openings in the skin extending about 1/8 inch into the pulp. The oviposition damage occurs as the female cuts through the skin and deposits a tiny white egg in the opening which she pushes to the bottom of the cavity with her snout. In front of the egg cavity she cuts a crescent shaped slit that extends obliquely under the egg to leave it in a flap of flesh. Each female is capable of depositing from 100 to 500 eggs. The larvae develop in the fruits where they feed for several weeks before reaching maturity. Infested fruits may drop from the tree early. Mature larvae leave the fruit and crawl into the soil to a depth of several inches where they construct earthen pupal cells. During July and August, the new brood of adults begins to emerge. They feed on developing fruits until low fall temperatures force them into hibernation. There is one generation of this insect in New York each year.

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The powder post beetles include wood boring beetles of at least three families, the Lyctidae or true powder post beetles, the Anobiidae or deathwatch beetles and the Bostrichidae, the branch and twig borers (sometimes called false powder post beetles).

The larvae of these beetles feed on cellulose in the wood and they can cause extensive damage to wood in structures and homes if conditions are suitable to them. Moisture plays a key role in attack from these insects. Losses are often heaviest in warm humid climates, but some species occur throughout the United States. In their feeding they reduce the wood to a fine powder, not unlike talcum powder in consistency. Holes left by emerging beetles are about 1/8 inch in diameter and round. They are sometimes called ìshot holesî.

A tool such as an awl can be helpful in determining the extend of damage. If the awl pokes in easily and deeply, the wood may be severely damaged.

Eggs are deposited in cracks, crevices, pores or old emergence holes in wood, or in tunnels made by the females. A tiny larva hatches from an egg and burrows into the wood. It continues feeding and growing to maturity when it burrows toward the surface and pupates. The adult emerges from the pupa and continues to tunnel to the surface. Adults leave the wood, mate, and then the females return to lay eggs. Exit holes and sawdust from beetles burrowing out are often the first symptom noticed.

Depending on the type of powder post beetle and the species, the life cycle may range from 3 months to 2 or more years. Some species are specific as to the types of wood they infest, while others are general feeders. However, they usually are either hardwood or softwood feeders.
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[Praying Mantis] The praying mantis, unlike most other members of the order Orthoptera (the crickets, grasshoppers, walking sticks, and cockroaches) which are mostly vegetable feeders, is carnivorous usually eating only living insects and other small creatures. The common European praying mantis, Mantis religiosa, is a native of southern Europe, ranging as far north as 47 deg. - 49 deg. latitude. It appears to have been accidentally introduced into New York State, having been found first in the vicinity of Rochester about 1899. Since then it has become established in New York and north into Ontario and appears to be increasing its distribution westward.

The principal characteristics of this beneficial insect are the great length of the first segment of the body, and the elongated front legs which are peculiarly fitted for grasping and are armed with spines to hold their prey when captured. The insect varies considerably in size; the females usually being larger. Some specimens may grow to 2 1/2 inches in length. They move about slowly and ungainly and often wait for hours in a fixed attitude for some unwary creature to come within reach. When prey is sighted they often creep up silently, much like a cat, and when close enough make a quick dash and seize their prey with their spined forelegs. There are two color phases of this insect which vary from dark brown to an emerald green. It would appear that the green and brown coloration including the intergrades is due largely to the response of the mantis to its immediate environment.

The European mantis lays its eggs in September and they hatch in the following June. The egg case or ootheca as it is called is a very large, 1 1/2 inch long, thick, elongated light brownish-colored mass. These masses are laid in various places, sometimes on the sides of houses, again on the twigs of trees, but apparently most often on the stems of grasses. The eggs enclosed within the case number from 50 to over 200. The young mantids are not only carnivorous, but also are cannibalistic. They have enormous appetites, and if not given plenty of food will eat each other until only one remains. Their natural food is living insects. The abundance of the mantids during the summer depends a great deal on the percentage of hatch from the overwintered eggs. The latter are often injured by both fall and winter temperatures; the highest egg survival is recorded following moderated winter temperatures combined with adequate snow coverage from November until the end of March. Although this insect has been observed on field and garden crops, its value as a predator appears to be more in control of injurious meadow and pasture insects. In fields where crickets and grasshoppers are numerous, these insects form a large part of the food of the mantids, particularly in the late nymphal and adult stages of the latter. By late summer the young have attained full growth and after mating, the females deposit their egg masses and live until cold weather kills them.
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[Pseudoscorpions] Pseudoscorpions or book scorpions are quite harmless despite their fierce looks. Occasionally they are found in houses, between the pages of a book, or between the boards in buildings, but most often they are found out of doors under bark, in moss, under leaves and in similar places.

Pseudoscorpions resemble true scorpions because they possess large claw-like pedipalps, however, they do not have a sting and are too small to bite. Most are less than 5 mm in length. The abdomen is short and oval, and the body very flat. Many are able to walk backwards as well as forwards.

There are over 200 species known from North America, but because of their small size and secretive habits, pseudoscorpions are rarely seen. They usually produce fewer than two dozen offspring per brood, although more than one brood can occur each year. Pseudoscorpions are generally considered beneficial arthropods because they feed on small insects and mites which are found under the bark of dead trees, in leaf litter, or under stones. They are active during the spring, summer and fall, but spend the winter in a silken cocoon which they construct in late autumn. It is believed that the adults may live for 2-3 years.

One interesting aspect of the behavior of pseudoscorpions is their apparent ability to "hitch-hike" about on other insects and small animals. The pseudoscorpion holds on tightly to the leg of another insect or animal and is transported from one place to another. It is this hitch-hiking ability that leads to occasionally finding one or two in the house.

No control is necessary. The pseudoscorpions can be swept up and put back outside when found.
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