Arborists, gardeners and tree surgeons have been reminded to keep their eyes open for Giant Pine Scale and to report all suspected signs of the pest insect.
This follows the recent detection of six infected trees in the Adelaide Park Lands. Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA) is assisting the Adelaide City Council to have the trees removed to ensure the eradication of the pest.
Removal of the infected trees by the Adelaide City Council commenced 17 October 2016.
Giant Pine Scale, or Marchalina hellenica, is a scale insect which can eventually destroy an infected tree.
The insect feeds on the sap of pine trees and can be found in the cracks and under the bark of pine trees, hidden under the white cotton-like wax it secretes.
Once an insect population becomes established it will cause branch dieback, gradual desiccation and often the death of the tree.
Giant Pine Scale can be spread via people’s shoes, clothing and equipment and all suspected sightings should be reported to the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881 so that an immediate assessment can be carried out.
For detailed information about the insect, download the exotic plant pest alert factsheet at https://pir.sa.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/230844/Pest_Alert_-_Marchalina_hellenica.pdf
Quotes attributable to PIRSA Acting Executive Director Biosecurity SA, Geoff Raven
Giant Pine Scale is a pest of significance with potential impacts on both South Australia’s softwood industries and amenity tree plantings.
The South Australian Government supports the removal of infected trees as the most effective way to eradicate Giant Pine Scale.
Protection of the state’s forest industry, which generates approximately $2.6 billion a year, is a significant reason behind the removal of the infected trees.
While Giant Pine Scale has not been detected in our commercial forest plantations, we can’t rest on our laurels and it is therefore important that this insect is detected and managed as quickly as possible.
Quotes attributable to Adelaide City Council Senior Consultant – Parks, Water & Environment, Kent Williams
Council identified this pest in the Adelaide Park Lands and has acted quickly to prevent incidental spreading to other locations.
With support from PIRSA through Biosecurity SA, Council will manage the pest to ensure it is contained. Monitoring of the Council’s urban forest will be ongoing to ensure any future pest identification is dealt with in a prompt and effective manner.
This latest sighting in the Adelaide Park Lands, follows on from an initial detection in Dernancourt last year which resulted in a total of 85 trees infected by Giant Pine Scale removed at 11 sites within the suburb as part of an eradication program.
Native to the eastern Mediterranean region, mainly in Greece and Turkey the spread of the pest is mostly attributed to people who can carry scale on their shoes, clothing or equipment.
Following the removal of the trees from this latest detection, PIRSA will continue with ongoing surveillance work to ensure the total eradication of the pest from South Australia.