Pesky pine pest persists
8 December 2016
Giant pine scale continues to infest trees in Melbourne's south-east suburbs but Agriculture Victoria will work with affected communities and industries to manage the pest.
Giant pine scale sucks the sap of pine and other related trees, sometimes killing the tree, and is a threat to the Australian softwood industry.
The pest was first found in 2014 in South Australia and Melbourne's south-east suburbs, where field surveys have found that there are more than 4,300 Victorian pine trees infested with the pest on 161 properties.
The municipalities where giant pine scale is found include: Monash, Casey, Yarra Ranges, Cardinia, Kingston, Greater Dandenong and the Mornington Peninsula.
Victoria's Chief Plant Health Officer, Dr Gabrielle Vivian-Smith, said that Agriculture Victoria has been conducting a response program to protect Australia's $1.16 billion softwood plantation industry from the threat of giant pine scale.
"During the response, Agriculture Victoria inspected over 75,000 host trees on the south east suburbs of Melbourne, and many more across Victoria. In Victoria the majority of infected trees were chemically treated, but unfortunately live scale insects still remain on infested trees," Dr Vivian-Smith said.
"Alternative options were considered, but it was concluded by the National Biosecurity Management Group that it is not technically feasible to eradicate giant pine scale."
Agriculture Victoria is consulting with communities and the softwood plantation industry about how best to limit the spread of the pest in future, and how to reduce its impact on infested trees.
There are restrictions on handling and moving relevant plant material that mean people should not touch, move or collect any samples or parts of infested trees, including mulch, pine cones and needles.
"We are appealing for help in tracking where the pest exists outside of the properties currently identified as being infested."
"Gardeners, gardening and tree removal contractors, local councils, golf courses and nurseries should all be on the lookout for a distinctive white, cotton-like wax secretion on pine trees."
More information about giant pine scale is available at www.vic.gov.au/giantpinescale or contact Agriculture Victoria on 136 186.
Categorised under: Agriculture