Scale of pine tree insect pest broadens
18 December 2015
There have been two new detections of giant pine scale at Tynong North and further south at Tyabb, one inside and one outside the existing Restricted Area in Melbourne's south-east.
A Restricted Area means host plants or plant products, such as mulch, cannot be moved out of the area, destroyed or pruned without a permit.
Giant pine scale (Marchalina hellencia) is an exotic insect pest that lives on the sap of pine, fir and spruce trees and is covered by white, waxy, cotton-like secretions.
A national response is underway to help protect Australia's $1.16-billion softwood plantation industry and to maintain the health of host trees, including those in the newly-detected area.
The new infestations were detected by an arborist and a nursery staff member who both reported the pest to the Department of Economic Development, Jobs Transport and Resources (DEDJTR).
Since January DEDJTR has surveyed more than 62,000 trees and treated around 4,000 trees within the declared Restricted Area in Melbourne's east, with minimal impact on the trees.
Chief Plant Health Officer Gabrielle Vivian-Smith said during the next two months, tree experts from DEDJTR would be in the new areas assessing the spread of this pest - and they could be knocking on your door.
"We are asking landholders to look for signs of giant pine scale - have you seen pine trees covered by white, waxy, cotton-like secretions?" Dr Vivian- Smith said.
"Three infested trees have been detected in Tynong North, while a further 270 infested trees have been found in the Tyabb area which is southeast of Melbourne, near Western Port Bay, and outside the Restricted Area,"
"We don't know how the pest reached Tyabb, but suspect it has been in the area for around five years," Dr Vivian-Smith said.
"To minimise further spread, we're asking people not to touch, move or collect suspected samples or parts of infected trees - community help is vital to the success of the eradication program,"
"So far treatment of trees in Victoria been managed through a simple insecticide treatment."
Residents can help with eradication efforts by reporting any white and waxy secretions they see on their pine, fir and spruce trees to the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline 1800 084 881 or by emailing photos, with their contact phone number and location to email@example.com
To find out more about giant pine scale and view some photos of what an infested tree looks like, please visit vic.gov.au/giantpinescale.
DEDJTR staff and contractors conducting property visits will carry official identification and will only need to view garden areas.
Categorised under: Agriculture,Biosecurity