Plant Health Care
For trees, good health is the first and strongest line of defense against pests. Healthy trees are often able to naturally defend themselves against pests. But trees that are under stress or in decline due to any number of health issues are more susceptible to insect attack. For this reason, it is best to make sure your trees are healthy before pest attacks happen.
Here are some of the pests that are common in our area:
Emerald Ash Borer (EAB):
The Emerald Ash Borer, or EAB, is a wood-boring beetle that originated in Asia. Since being imported, this beetle is responsible for killing close to 10 million ash trees in the United States. If trends continue, the Emerald Ash Borer will infest all unprotected ash trees in North America within the next 20 to 25 years.
Pine bark beetles (Southern Pine Beetle, Turpentine Beetle, Ips Engraver):
These small bark beetles are very destructive insects. Pine bark beetles are attracted to various species of pine trees that are sick, damaged, or are stressed due to drought and other factors. Healthy trees can also fall prey to attack from pine bark beetles if they attack in great numbers. Pine trees usually die once bark beetle populations reach elevated heights.
Ambrosia beetles (Shothole Borer, Black Stem Borer, Asian (or Granulate) Ambrosia Beetle, European Shothole Borer, etc):
The Ambrosia Beetle is a wood-boring insect that belongs to a broad group of beetles. There are hundreds of different species throughout the world. The beetle gets its name from the Ambrosia Fungus with which it shares a symbiotic relationship. Native Ambrosia Beetles prefer to attack stressed and weakened trees, while non-native species attack both stressed and healthy trees. Ambrosia Beetles are very damaging and often kill trees. It is possible for a tree to survive, but this will depend on severity of the attack and what is done to aid the tree in recovery.
Scale insects (Tea Scale, Gloomy Scale, Lecanium Scale, Euonymus Scale, Obscure Scale, Wax Scale, Cottony Scale, etc.):
cale insects are named as such due to the waxy covering that they use for protection. Scale insects can be divided into two main categories: armored and soft. Scales are piercing, sucking insects that insert their straw-like mouth parts into stems or leaves for feeding. Where the scales feed depends on the species. They suck out fluids from their host plant and can cause significant damage, especially when the plant is already stressed due to other health issues.
The Japanese Beetle is easily recognized by its green, copper color. As the name suggests, the Japanese Beetle is native to Japan. It is not a serious threat in Japan since natural predators keep the populations in check. It is, however, a very destructive pest in the southern half of the United States.
Aphids (Green Peach Aphid, Crape Myrtle Aphid, Woolly Aphid, Rose Aphid, etc.):
Aphids are small insects that feed on tender leaves, stems, and flower buds to extract plant fluids. There are close to 4000 known species and at least 250 that are serious pests to trees, fruits, vegetables, and ornamental plants. Aphids are found in most countries throughout the world. They are identifiable by the sooty mold that grows on aphid honeydew exudation.
Mites (Southern Red Mite, Two-Spotted Mite, Boxwood Mite, etc.):
Spider mites are common pests that feed on many different species of plants. Spider mites are part of the arachnid family and closely related to spiders. There are at least 1200 species of spider mites, though we are only concerned with 4 to 5 species here in the Southeast. These pests are very damaging if left untreated. They have the ability to multiply rapidly and thus cause exponential damage.
Whiteflies look like tiny moths, but they are neither moths nor flies. They are closely related to scale insects and mealy bugs. The Whitefly originated in Asia and is now widely distributed throughout North America and other parts of the world. Whiteflies are a common pest on gardenia. The species that causes the majority of the damage in our area is the Citrus Whitefly.
Info still to come
Plant Health Care Service Areas:
Including all of Los Angeles County, Orange County, Riverside County and the counties of Inland Empire, Antelope Valley, Kern, Ventura and Santa Barbara.