Combating Fruit fly threat in Australia!

01The Queensland fruit fly (Bactrocera tryoni) is a species of tephritid fruit fly native to Australia. There are over 250 species of fruit fly in the family Tephritidae which occur in Australia but only about ten are pests. Adult flies are about seven millimetres long and are reddish-brown in color, with distinct yellow marking. QFF (Queensland Fruit Fly) is different from the small dark brown drosophila flies that hang around ripe and decaying fruit. Drosophila flies are not agricultural pests but can be a nuisance where fruit and vegetables are stored. It is a widely acknowledged and feared pest in the agriculture and horticulture industry.

4The fruit fly is native to eastern Queensland and north-eastern New South Wales.  The ready availability of suitable hosts and habitat in urban and horticultural production areas in Queensland, Northern Territory, New South Wales and Victoria in Australia has enabled the fly to expand its natural range. It attacks a wide range of host plants, lowering production and making fruit inedible. This can have severe consequences for local and international trade.

The fruit fly causes damage in the larval stage as well as the adult stage. The female fly has a retractable, needle-sharp egg-laying organ (ovipositor) at the tip of her abdomen. Using the ovipositor she digs a flask-shaped chamber about 3 mm deep in the outer layer of the fruit where up to 12 eggs are laid at a time.

3 The fly lays eggs in maturing and ripe fruit on trees and sometimes in fallen fruit. The maggots (larvae) hatch and the fruit is destroyed by the feeding maggots and by associated fruit decay. The fly can attack a wide range of fruit, fruiting vegetables and native fruiting plants. Evidence of the fly activity is sometimes seen as puncture marks in the skin of fruit. The stings are where the female fruit fly has laid her eggs. Sting marks may appear as brown spots on persimmons, apples and pears or small holes that may become small raised lumps in citrus and avocado. They are most active in warm humid conditions and after rain. The flies might be seen walking on the undersides of leaves or on maturing fruit. They readily take flight if disturbed.

There have been innumerable fruit fly outbreaks in the recent history. An outbreak however small in intensity spells huge losses for the horticulture industry as thousands of fruits growers are affected. They attack a host of fruit trees like apple, apricot, blackberry, cashew, etc. Bananas are said to be attacked only when overripe, and other fruits, such as grapes, are attacked only in peak years.

In Napa County a hub of olive growers, the meddling fruit fly has caused severe damage as reported in a leading newspaper. An ardent horticulturist Chris Craiker, owner of Corlyone Olive Oyl in Browns Valley, said the infestation had hit his orchards hard in 2013, as he estimated a loss of 40 to 50 percent of his crop to the fruit fly infestation.

He said he usually grows about 1,000 to 1,500 pounds of olives, but had to discard the entire crop rather than sort the healthy fruit from the infected fruit.

Let us look at the following recent news article regarding the return of these devastating insects.

Fruit fly makes growers ‘nervous as hell’

By Mike Barrington – NORTHERN ADVOCATE

9:25 AM Friday Jan 24, 2014

A single male Fruit Fly found in the Hatea Drive area of Whangarei. Photo / Ron Burgin

The discovery of a male Queensland fruit fly in Whangarei has sparked a major biosecurity alert.

Up to 50 Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) staff was in the city and another 50 in Wellington were preparing yesterday to deal with the pest threatening New Zealand’s $4 billion horticulture industry.

The fly was found in the front yard of a home near the Whangarei Town Basin on Tuesday. It was collected from an insect trap MPI had placed there as part of its national fruit flies surveillance program involving 7400 traps around the country.

MPI staff yesterday put up signs banning people from taking whole fresh fruit and vegetables out of a 200m zone circling the place where the fly was found. Bins have been provided for residents to dump fruit and vegetables rather than disposing of them with other household rubbish.

Today MPI officials will begin putting about 200 pheromone traps into fruit trees in that zone and within a 1.5km radius of the discovery site extending up to the Regent, along Riverside Dr and into Parihaka.

An MPI mobile laboratory arrived in Whangarei yesterday for use analyzing fallen fruit and vegetables to be gathered from the two zones.

Queensland fruit fly is one of the most damaging fruit fly pests because it infests more than 100 species of fruit. Some countries will not import fruit and vegetables from sources where the fly is known to exist.

MPI deputy director general compliance and response Andrew Coleman said yesterday that New Zealand’s trading partners had been notified of the Whangarei find and measures were under way to find out if there is an infestation.

If no further evidence of fruit flies was found within a fortnight then overseas markets would accept the insect was alone, he said.

When the Northern Advocate asked whether the location of the fruit fly found in Whangarei indicated the insect had arrived in one of the many overseas yachts berthed at the Town Basin, Mr. Coleman said it may have done.

“But we may never know how it got here,” he said, explaining that the fruit fly life cycle involved a pupae development period in the ground.

The pheromone traps containing female fruit fly sex scent are expected to detect any males. If an infestation was found, ground spraying would be carried out to eradicate the invaders.

Minister of Primary Industries Nathan Guy and MPI chief executive officer Martyn Dunn were in Whangarei yesterday to see the fruit fly measures being imposed and for talks with Whangarei MP Phil Heatley, Mayor Sheryl Mai and top Northland Regional Council officials.

Mr. Heatley said later the minister had assured Whangarei people there would be no aerial spraying such as the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry carried out with the insecticide Foray 48B over parts of Auckland from January 2002 to May 2004 to eradicate another exotic pest, the painted apple moth.

Kerikeri Fruit growers’ Association chairman Rick Curtis said growers in his area were “nervous as hell”.

“They are watching and hoping the male fly found was alone,” he said.

Fruit fly facts:

  • The Queensland fruit fly is a native of Australia where it is considered to be the country’s most serious insect pest of fruit and vegetable crops.
  • Air and sea passengers are prohibited from bringing fresh fruit and vegetables into New Zealand.
  • Fruit flies eat ripened fruit and vegetables. Eggs which female fruit flies lay on fruit hatch into larvae which find dark places where they grow six legs and wings before emerging as adults.
  • Larvae of fruit flies develop in moist areas where organic material and standing water are present. The entire life cycle lasts 25 days or more depending on the environmental conditions and the availability of food.

Thus these flies are notorious pests which affect the horticulture industry reigning in losses to the tune of billions of dollars. Let us see what has been done conventionally to deal with these pests. The fly has been the subject of extensive control regimes including a Fruit Fly Exclusion Zone where it is forbidden to take fruit, and post-harvest dipping of fruit in dimethoate and fenthion. Now dimethoate and fenthion are interesting chemicals. They are basically organophosphates. Dimethoate is a widely used organophosphate insecticide used to kill insects on contact. Fenthion is an organothiophosphate insecticide, avicide, and acaricide. Since both the above chemicals are extremely toxic and hazardous to the human life due to their mode of action targeting the central nervous system, their use was under review by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA), with dimethoate suspended from use.

In effect we still have outbreaks of fruit fly infestations with almost no means of controlling them. Termirepel™ a product by C Tech Corporation is a promising alternative solution. Termirepel™ is a non-toxic, non-hazardous insect and pest repellant. Primarily designed to be used as a termite aversive, it is highly effective against a host of other insects and pests. It works by the mechanism of repellence by which it ensures that the target insect or pest stays away from the application without resorting to killing it. Termirepel™ is available in liquid form which can be used in the form of a spray. Also, the masterbatch form can be incorporated in agricultural films.



Cone head termite threat in US!

A rapidly growing species of termite has invaded the U.S. This species, scientific name Nasutitermes corniger, was nicknamed the “Conehead Termite” because of the distinctive cone-shaped head.

downloadFirst discovered in Florida in 2001, this highly adaptable termite nests in or on—and happily consumes—trees, shrubs, roots, structures, fences, wooden furniture, scrap wood, paper products and probably many other items made of cellulose. It may build nests on open ground with no trees close by.

This challenging species has tremendous potential for swift dispersal, survival in a variety of structural and natural habitats across a broad geographic range, and decisive economic impacts. There is a sense of urgency to act now to halt and hopefully eradicate this exotic species because if it spreads further and becomes irreversibly established in the United States, it could become a powerful, damaging, expensive, obnoxious, and permanent pest.

download (2)Originally called “tree termites,” they were renamed cone head termites to alleviate the misconception that this pest is only found in trees. Though the species was believed to have been eradicated in the U.S. in 2003, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS) recently confirmed the reemergence of this pest in Broward County, Florida.

Unlike most termites, the conehead termite does not rely on underground tunneling to travel. Instead, they forage on the ground like ants, allowing them to spread quickly. They build dark brown “mud” tubes and freestanding nests on the ground, in trees or in wooden structures. The nests can be up to 3 feet in diameter and have a hard surface of chewed wood.

imagesConehead termites are an extremely aggressive termite species known for causing widespread property damage in a short period of time. These species need to be controlled to stop this destruction from spreading, or else millions of dollars in damage can be expected. Let’s have a look at the following article.

Cone heads invade South Florida


Published: December 20, 2012

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A dangerous Caribbean termite that’s consuming trees, walls and ceilings in Dania Beach, Fla., will be the target of a renewed eradication campaign, with state officials saying this may be their last chance before the species spreads through South Florida.

The Nasutitermes corniger, or cone head termite, whose bizarre behavior includes constructing above-ground nests the size of beach balls and digging visible brown tunnels up the sides of houses, first turned up in Dania Beach in 2001. Agriculture officials thought they eradicated it, but it turned up again last year, and despite the aggressive use of pesticides on nests and feeding tunnels, it keeps showing up.

Pest control professionals, scientists and the Florida Department of Agriculture met in Dania Beach last week to implement a new eradication strategy before the arrival of the spring flight season, when the termites fly off to find new colonies, threatening to spread the range of the wood-eating insects.

“Certainly all of South Florida could be at risk, up into Central Florida,” said Barbara Thorne, professor of entomology at the University of Maryland, who is helping plan the campaign. “Once this gets out, there will be no containing it, ever. So we’re trying to deal with this now.”

State officials had announced an apparent success against the termite in May, saying they had sprayed 47 sites over a square mile west of Interstate 95 in Dania Beach and found no evidence of live nests. But they also said they would be surveying the area indefinitely, and their surveys found new hotspots spreading out from the area of original infestation.

“We’re still getting activity in the area we treated,” said Steven Dwinell, assistant director of the Florida Department of Agriculture’s Division of Agricultural Environmental Services. “We weren’t as successful as we’d hoped.”

Allen Fugler, executive vice president of the Florida Pest Management Association, which organized the meeting along with the Association of Structural Pest Control Regulatory Officials, said the initial priority will be to come up with a strategy to prevent them from spreading in spring.

“We’re going to look for something as a stopgap before the start of the season,” he said. “Eradication is very difficult.”

The Department of Agriculture is asking the Legislature for $200,000 to hire two full-time workers to seek and destroy termite colonies in Dania Beach. Mr. Dwinell said the initial discussions with pest control professionals suggested the new campaign will involve them more heavily.

This is the worst kind of fear. The fear, of infestation by foreign species in your beloved land.  There has to be some way to surpass this problem. Mankind has come up with creative solutions for each and every roadblock faced by them. So for this particular problem we, at C Tech Corporation have come up with a viable solution.

Termirepel™ is an aversive for termites and insects. It is non-toxic, non-hazardous and environment friendly repellent which works even against the most aggressive insects.

Combirepel™ is also a non-toxic, non-hazardous and environment friendly product that repels both termites as well as rodents. Combirepel™ WP ( wood protection) is designed as a single eco friendly treatment to treat wood from fungi, rodents, termites and many other insects including Conehead.

These products work on the mechanism of repellence and do not kill the target species, thus keeping in accordance with the need of the hour i.e. sustainability. This green chemistry based wonder product can give even the harshest of termites a run for their home, literally speaking.



Red pine scale attacking trees!!

“Trees are our best friends. They play a very important role in our life. We cannot live without them. They purify the air we breathe. They give us timber, paper and firewood. Timber is used in making houses, train compartments, big boxes, tools etc.” Such many qualities of trees were thought to us in our school which made us realize the importance of trees. These trees which are an important part of human life and one of the necessities for our survival have many enemies in the surrounding. The billions and trillions of insects are present in our ecosystem which cause damage and destroy trees and plants. One among these enemies is red pine scales.

Red pine scale is an invasive insect found throughout southern New England, New York, New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania. It was identified in New Hampshire in fall 2012 at Bear Brook State Park. Most likely it was introduced in the US on exotic pines planted at the NY World’s Fair in 1939.

The red pine scale has two generations per year. Adult females are brownish red and wingless. Pre-adult males resemble females but are smaller and soon after emergence become true winged adults inside a waxy cocoon. Although adult males are winged they do not fly. The summer generation lay their eggs in early spring and these mature in early August to lay the next Fall generation. First stage larvae resemble adult females but are smaller and transform into an intermediate legless stage. The fall generation overwinters as first stage crawlers under bark scales and become adults the following spring. The females generally lay an average of 262 eggs

The attack by the red pine scales is identified by the foliage changing color slowly from light green to yellow to red appearing first on individual branches on the lower part of the crown then gradually over the entire crown. Masses of cottony white filaments become visible on the branches when infestations are heavy. Weakened trees may also be attacked by bark beetles causing rapid tree mortality.

The red pine scales mostly make red pine their victims. But they are also known to attack Japanese black pine and Chinese pine. The red pine scales are one of the most important insect pests of red pine in the Northeast, USA. In 1971 in US thousands of tress ranging from nursery stock to mature trees were killed. Many more were severely injured and did not survive when attacked by secondary borer. Red pine is one of the most extensively planted trees in the northern U.S. and Canada. It is used for windbreaks, erosion control, and wood products. Red pine needles are 4 to 6 inches long, and occur in bundles of 2.

These insects are still at large and cause considerable damage to trees. Let take a look at the following article,

Insect that’s killing red pines in Mass. appears to have hit Hingham

A stand of spiny, brown pine trees poking out above the George Washington Town Forest could be evidence of an exotic insect that has already felled hundreds of acres of red pines throughout Massachusetts.

Ken Gooch, director of the Department of Conservation’s Forest Health Program, said the trees appear to have been hit by matsucoccus resinosae, also known as the red pine scale, a small insect that has been slowly spreading north from New Jersey since the 1960s. Gooch made the determination after reviewing photographs of the Hingham trees taken by a Patriot Ledger photographer Thursday.

Gooch said the red pine scale can wreak havoc on the trees it infests, sometimes killing them in as little as two or three years. New Hampshire park officials began harvesting red pine plantations on 118 acres of Bear Brook State Park in February in an effort to contain the insects, which were first discovered in the state last summer.

“Once the scale gets in there, it’s really quick,” Gooch said.

Gooch said the red pine scale was responsible for killing just over 500 acres of trees in Massachusetts last year alone, with much of the damage occurring around Middleboro. When he conducted an aerial survey of Eastern Massachusetts this spring, he spotted three new stands hit by the bugs.

Gooch said the scales mostly target non-native red pines that were brought to the region by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. The insects can only be seen under a microscope and largely rely on birds to carry them from one stand of red pines to another.

The conventionally used pesticides are no longer an effective solution for this problem as the new generations of the red pine scales has developed the resistance to hazardous pesticides. An effective solution should be adopted to ensure that our trees are protected from such vile species. Termirepel™ a non-toxic, non-hazardous and environment friendly product is highly efficient and effective in combating pests like red pine scales. Termirepel™ is a broad spectrum aversive repelling more than 500 species of insects like termites, ants, bugs etc. It is available in lacquer and solution form which can be mixed with paints and applied as coatings on the bark of the trees to protect them the pests.

Remembering the importance of the trees and their need for our survival, use of a solution like Termirepel™ to protect trees is the need of the hour.

Termites- A Homeowner’s worst nightmare!

u5Everyone dreams of buying and owning their own house. We spend years dreaming about and saving for a home where we can raise a family, and come home to after a hard day at work. No doubt, it’s a huge responsibility, but it is one which we are more than ready to take. It’s like a dream come true when we finally start living in our own house, a result of our hard work and years of planning. And once we’re in our dream home, we don’t want to have to worry about that dream being reduced to dust. However, one teeny, tiny insect that has the ability to cause many a sleepless night is the termite. Nothing strikes fear into a homeowner’s heart quite like termites.

Termites are the cause of billions of dollars in damages each year. According to the National Pest Management Association, about $5 billion dollars a year is caused by termite damage in the U.S. alone. Termite damage is not only expensive but it’s also difficult to fix. They can chew holes in our furniture, support beams, all studs and floor joints, and also do damage to our foundation. What’s worse is quite often we don’t even know they’re there until the damage has already been done. Known as “silent destroyers,” termites often do their damage from the inside out. Some signs of termites include cracked paint on wood surfaces, sawdust piles, hollow-sounding wood, discarded wings, and mud tubes leading to the foundation of our home. Because these signs are so subtle, it can be really hard to identify a termite problem before it becomes a full-blown termite infestation. Termites move in looking for food and because our home is built out of their food source, it’s a goldmine for them!

Termites have been around for a very long time and are one of the most successful and prolific species on the planet. Worldwide, the destructive insects cause roughly $40 billion a year in damages to homes and other wooden structures! Termites are active 24 hours a day, seven days a week, termite-damagesilently feeding on the cellulose found in our wooden articles. Termites are present in 70% of countries across the world and outnumber humans 10 to 1! And the worst part? Most pest infestations and accompanying damage are considered maintenance issues by insurance carriers. In other words, the insurance company’s position is that you could have prevented the mishap by eradicating the pesky bugs before they ate you out of home! Thus the poor homeowner has to pay for all the repairs. Considering the population of termites today, and the extent of damage they cause, a homeowner may well be on his way to bankruptcy!

The below article, published on an incident on termite damage would highlight the graveness of this issue.


Termites chewing up Kitchener’s Laurentian Hills neighbourhood

Posted: Aug 12, 2014

Residents in Kitchener’s Laurentian Hills area are battling a termite colony that has taken up residence in their back yards and are asking for the city’s help to battle the bugs.

The termites are chewing apart trees, sheds, fences and even people’s homes. 

“It’s something that will eventually spread to the rest of the city if it isn’t addressed in the near future,” said Stephen Dewar, whose house is affected by termites. 

On Monday, he asked city councillors to help him and his neighbours fight the invasion.

“Right now it’s contained to a city block, so it hasn’t crossed the road yet. All the houses that are affected either about each other or back on to each other,” said Dewar. 

The infestation in Laurentian Hills is confined to one block of 23 homes, essentially a rectangular island of homes on Briargate Drive and Greenock Drive. In that block, 20 homes were infected and seven of those homes have already been treated for termites.  

Dewar said he discovered the infestation in the spring, after the city inspector found termite evidence on his property. At the time, he learned that some of his neighbours had known about termites in the area for as long as three years. 

Dewar said there is a bylaw that requires him to have his property treated by a professional exterminator within 30 days or he will face a fine from the city. 

“They basically told us it’s the homeowner’s responsibility,” he said. 

But Dewar said the exterminators he approached told him they could only use chemicals that work as repellents to try to keep the termites out of his house. The exterminators wouldn’t be able to kill the colony, because the chemicals that can be legally used in Ontario won’t kill the insects. 

“So the problem isn’t going to go away, and in fact it’s likely to spread to the rest of the city,” said Dewar. 

Dewar said it would cost between $2,000 to $5,000 to treat the outside of his property, and from $5,000 to $8,000 – or more – to treat the inside of his property. The treatment is only good for one year, he said. 

Dewar has asked city staff to look into new ways to get rid of the termite colony, not to enforce the bylaw and to offer financial help to people in the Laurentian Hills who are dealing with the termites. 

Council on Monday decided to continue enforcing the bylaw, but will consider offering financial assistance to the homeowners.

“We have to look holistically, though, not just at this issue but at rats and the infestation of emerald ash borer, other potential infestations as well,” said Coun. Dan Glenn-Graham.

“We can’t afford to support this kind of long-term funding,” he told council. 

“Because if we were to do it for some, we have to be willing to do it for all.”

dry-rot1-1024x768Although many people think termites have only negative impacts, in nature, they make many positive contributions to the world’s ecosystems. Their greatest contribution is the role they play in recycling wood and plant material. Their tunneling efforts also help to ensure that soils remain porous, contain nutrients, and are healthy enough to support plant growth. Thus, what we need to look for is an answer which would help solve the problem of termite infestation, while at the same time not harming the termites in any way. Sounds impossible, doesn’t it? C Tech Corporation provides precisely that!

One of the three niche products offered by C Tech Corporation- Termirepel™ is a non-toxic and non-hazardous insect repellent, specially designed for protection against termites. Since we aim at providing solutions which would have the least impact on the species, Termirepel™ only repels the insect species from the application; it does not kill them or harm them in any way. Being a broad spectrum aversive, this product works against almost 500 species of unwanted pests and insects. The best feature of this product is that it is completely environment-friendly, i.e. Termirepel™ is not only safe for the target species; it is completely safe for the humans and environment too! This product is available in the masterbatch, lacquer form and as a liquid solution. In lacquer form, Termirepel™ can be coated on the surfaces in the attic or other such places which could successfully keep the pesky bugs at bay.

Although we may never be completely rid of these damaging termites, with proper safe preventive measures, such as using Termirepel™ for protecting our surfaces, we may be able to limit our exposure to their predations.

Banana Skipper destroying banana plantations!

Banana skipper (Erionota thrax) butterfly is from South East Asia, where the MG_9952acaterpillars (larvae) cause the major damage to infested plants. This pest is also known as the banana leaf roller or palm redeye. After hatching, the caterpillars move towards the outer edge of the leaf where they feed and roll the leaf to make a shelter. Within the roll the larva secretes a protective, white, waxy covering. The feeding and rolling destroys the leaves, significantly reducing the plant’s leaf area and leading to reduced fruit production, as well as preventing the use of the leaves for traditional purposes. The adult female lays small yellow eggs in batches of 12–25 on lower leaf sides, from which the caterpillars emerge. Caterpillars roll up banana leaf sections and eat the leaves as they grow. They also exude a fine white powdery material over their body. Adult butterflies are brown with three yellow-white areas at the front of their wings. They have a wingspan of around 7cm.

Banana skipper butterflies have brown bodies with large heads, large red eyes and thickened, curved antennae tips. Each wing is 31-37 mm wide, with three yellow areas on the forewings. Banana skipper butterflies are called skipper butterflies due to their fast, darting flight movements. They are attracted to light.

UntitledThe skipper larvae are present in the rolled-up sections of leaves. Unroll the leaf curls and check for the presence of the caterpillars and/or their white powdery covering. Banana skipper caterpillars damage banana plants by feeding on and rolling up the leaves. The caterpillars can damage 60% of the plant leaf area. Leaf damage lowers banana yields due to delayed fruit maturity and reduced bunch size. The adult butterflies are most active in the early evening and are not commonly seen.

Banana skipper is currently widespread in South East Asia, and is also found in Papua New Guinea, Mauritius, Guam and Hawaii. They were particularly devastating to banana crops in Papua New Guinea in the 1980s. Its close MG_9977aproximity to northern Australia is a concern to the Australian banana industry.

Banana skipper butterfly infests cultivated and wild bananas (Musaceae). They can spread longer distances as eggs on the leaves of infested banana propagation material or as undetected butterflies on boats, vehicles or aircraft.

Let’s take a look at the following article on the damage done by banana skipper;

Banana farmers reel under ‘butterfly’ attack

NANDAKUMAR, July 7, 2014

 Scientists at the Kerala Agricultural University have called for heightened vigil against a new and devastating pest that threatens to blight banana crops in the State.

The pest, identified as the Banana Skipper or Palm Redeye (Erionota thrax), is a chocolate-brown butterfly belonging to the family Hesperidae. It is also known as Banana Leaf Roller because its larva or caterpillar cuts the leaves at the edges and makes a series of cylindrical rolls before developing into a pupa. A heavy infestation could damage the whole banana leaf, leaving only the midrib intact.

dwsdAccording to Dr. Arthur Jacob, Professor and Head of the KAU’s instructional farm at Vellayani near here, the pest was reported last year from different locations in the State. He said the damage was now found to be spreading to the southern parts, especially Thiruvananthapuram, a major producer of banana. The infestation has been found to be heavy in a few banana farms at Kalliyoor, Kakkamoola and Pallichal near Vellayani.

Originally reported from Southeast Asia, the banana leaf roller pest is distributed in Northeast India, Sikkim, Nepal, the Andaman islands, Mauritius, Malaysia, China, Vietnam, Hawaii and Papua New Guinea. Measuring 4 to 6 cm in length, the white powder-coated caterpillar prefers banana leaves though it is occasionally found to infest coconut palms also.

Citing reports from other countries, Dr. Arthur said natural control was the best remedy. The introduction of natural parasites has been advocated to bring the damage under control.

An expert team of the KAU has advised farmers to be vigilant against the spread of the pest. The scientists have called for field scouting and periodic destruction of the rolled leaves by burning to kill the larvae. “Chemical control measures are seldom required, but if the manual removal of the leaf rolls is not possible, treatments timed to control the newly hatched larvae may be attempted with the backing of field studies,” Dr. Arthur said.

To tackle the problem various methods have been tried and tested without any success. The conventional toxic chemicals have become obsolete and are no longer effective in protecting the tress from the attack of these vile pests. Unlike these chemicals, C Tech Corporation’s product Termirepel™ is the best solution to deal with the problem of these pests. Termirepel™ is non-toxic, non-hazardous and environment friendly aversive product. It is a broad spectrum aversive which works against 500 species of insects including ash borer. Termirepel™ is available in liquid form which can be mixed with paints and applied on the tree trunk. It can also be sprayed in the area surrounding the tress to keep the ash borers at bay. The high point of Termirepel™ is that it does not kill the species but efficiently repels them.

Protecting our plants from thirp damage…

download (1)Found in a rainbow of North American plants from avocados to beans, onions, citrus trees and market flowers, thrips are tiny insects. These species that are plant feeders can scar leaf, flower or fruit surfaces with silvery speckling when they puncture and suck out the cell’s content. Conversely, heavy pest populations can severely distort flowers and damage fruit. Other thrip species function as beneficial insects by eating mites, fungal spores and pollen.

When thrips have fed on a bud, it will often fail to open; or if it does open, the flower will be deformed. Flowers upon which the thrips feed may also become streaked and/or discolored. When thrips feed on plant leaves, the leaves will dry out and appear speckled with silvery flakes. The leaves will eventually wilt and fall off.

To lay its eggs, the female thrip will make a slit in a leaf then lay 25 to 50 eggs within it. The eggs can develop into adults within three weeks, or sooner for some species. Many species of thrips also reproduce asexually. They can produce many generations in a single season.

In addition to damaging and feeding on plants, thrips are known to bite humans. They can cause both skin and respiratory irritation to people, according to the University of Michigan, particularly to workers in fields where infestations exist.

downloadThrips are small insects, only about 1/20″, but they can cause a lot of damage. At maturity, they are yellowish or blackish with fringed wings.  Nymphs have a similar shape but lack the wings. They are usually yellowish to white. Thrips are poor flyers. As a result, damage often occurs in one part of the plant then slowly spreads throughout it.

images (1)Thrips feed in buds, folded leaves, and other unexposed areas of plants. This makes them difficult to treat with an insecticide. They feed by sucking juices from the plant causing stippling, or small scars, on leaves, flowers and fruit. This results in stunting of the plant, leaf distortion and premature leaf drop. Flowers may be deformed and fail to open properly. Petals may show brown streaks and spots. Their excrement is black and shiny, which may be a clue to their presence.  In addition to this physical damage, thrips also transmit tomato spotted wilt virus and impatiens necrotic spot virus, for which there is no control.

If enough thrips attack a plant, the leaves may take on a silver streaked appearance. When there is a large enough infestations of thrips, the plant can be severely damaged. Fruits will not be able to fully mature.

imagesIn many species, thrips feed within buds and furled leaves or in other enclosed parts of the plant. Their damage is often observed before the thrips are seen. Discolored or distorted plant tissue or black specks of feces around stippled leaf surfaces are clues that thrips are or were present. However, some abiotic disorders, pathogens, and certain other invertebrates can cause damage resembling that of thrips. For example, lace bugs, plant bugs, and mites also stipple foliage, and lace bugs and certain plant bugs produce dark, watery fecal specks. Look carefully for the insects themselves to be certain that pest thrips are present and the cause of damage before taking control action.

Thrips are poor fliers but can readily spread long distances by floating with the wind or being transported on infested plants. New thrips introductions can pose serious threats and complicate identification. A recent introduction of Klambothrips myopori has caused serious leaf and shoot galling damage to Myoporum laetum(ngaio tree) and Myoporum ‘Pacificum’ (a groundcover) along the coast of California. This thrips was both a new introduction and an undescribed species, so that initially not even the experts knew what to call it or how it might be managed. This species is now well established and from its original detection site in San Diego has spread north along the coast to at least as far as Santa Barbara. It is expected to continue to spread to wherever Myoporum species have been planted.

Thrips prefer to feed in rapidly growing tissue. Feeding by thrips typically causes tiny scars on leaves and fruit, called stippling, and can stunt growth. Damaged leaves may become papery and distorted. Infested terminals may discolor, become rolled, and drop leaves prematurely. Petals may exhibit “color break,” which is pale or dark discoloring of petal tissue that was killed by thrips feeding before buds opened. Thrips cause silvery to brownish, scabby scarring on the avocado and citrus fruit surface, but this cosmetic damage does not harm the internal fruit quality. Feces may remain on leaves or fruit long after thrips have left. Where thrips lay eggs on grapes, dark scars surrounded by lighter “halos” may be found on the fruit. Thrips feeding on raspberries, apples, and nectarines can deform or scar developing fruit; sugar pea pods may be scarred or deformed. Citrus thrips feeding severely distorts blueberry shoot tips and foliage, reducing fruit yield.

Western flower thrips are primarily pests of herbaceous plants, but high populations occasionally damage continuously- or late-blossoming flowers on woody plants such as roses. Some plant-feeding thrips are also predaceous on other pests, such as spider mites. In young cotton seedlings in California, western flower thrips is considered beneficial because it feeds on spider mites.

Behavior, body appearance, and host plants help to distinguish among thrips species. For example, three dark spots on each forewing distinguish the adult predaceous six spotted thrips from pest thrips. Adults of western flower thrips and onion thrips, are noticeably larger than avocado and citrus thrips adults, so mature body size helps to distinguish them when they occur together on the same host plant. However, thrips can be positively identified to species only by an expert. Fortunately, most thrips are susceptible to some of the same controls, such as exclusion and pesticides.

It is more important to distinguish among thrips species in situations where integrated pest management methods are used. For example, predatory thrips or other natural enemies are highly specific to certain pests and are likely to help control only certain species of plant-feeding thrips. Certain thrips occur on many different plants but damage only a few of the plant species on which they are found, so identifying the thrips species may reveal that it is harmless in that situation and no control action is needed. For example, avocado fruit skin is scarred by avocado thrips and greenhouse thrips, but citrus thrips and western flower thrips are harmless in avocado. Citrus thrips occurs on many species of plants but damages only blueberries and citrus.

Although thrips damage to leaves is unsightly, thrips activity does not usually warrant the use of insecticide sprays. For instance, while thrips damage on citrus or avocado fruit may look unpleasant, it does not harm trees or affect the internal fruit quality. When damage is noticed on ripening fruit or distorted terminals, the thrips that caused the injury are often gone. It’s not until later when tissue grows and expands that injury caused earlier becomes apparent. While viruses vectored by thrips may cause plant loss, insecticide sprays are not recommended to prevent viruses because thrips are not killed fast enough to prevent the transfer of the virus to new plants. Prevention of thrips infestations is the only way to prevent infection by thrips-vectored viruses.

This can readily by achieved by using C Tech Corporation patented product Termirepel™.

Termirepel™ is a non-toxic, non-hazardous broad spectrum insect aversive masterbatch which works not only against termites but a host of other insects including beetles, ticks, thirps etc. It has been incorporated in different kinds of films, cables and wires etc all over the world and is found to be effective against even the most aggressive insects. It is effective against a multitude of other insects including agricultural pests. It can be used for a number of applications including agricultural films, tarps, pipes, plastics, ducts, tubing and hosing, wires and cables, railways, aviation, mulches and the automobile sector.

For prevention from damage caused by Thirps, films incorporated with Termirepel™ can be used to cover the area or mulches can also be used to save the plants. Such films can also be wrapped around big fruits to prevent damage. All this can be done by just repelling the insect and not killing them. Thus, following the course of ecological balance and sustainability.












Battling The Spotted Lanternfly- The non-toxic way!

t4An unwelcome guest has recently been plaguing the plant life in Pennsylvania. These are nothing but Spotted Laternflies, which are beautiful, colourful insects and might seem like any other nuisance bug; but which are can prove to be extremely dangerous. The invasive pest poses a threat to fruit orchards and grape vines, along with forests and the timber industry. It attacks trees by feeding on sap and harms them further by excreting large amounts of a fluid that coats leaves and stems and encourages the growth of mold, according to researchers.

The Spotted Lanternfly is about one inch long and a half-inch wide, and is native to China, India, Japan and Vietnam. The insect uses its “piercing and sucking mouthparts” to drain stems of sap while at the same time excreting a lot of liquid. Due to the sugar content of the liquid, plant parts covered with spotted lanternfly excretion harbor mold growth, which could hinder plant growth. This can reduce photosynthesis, weaken the plant, and eventually contribute to the plant’s death. In addition, feeding can cause the plant to ooze or weep. It’s described as a weak flyer but a “strong and quick jumper,” and it’s done some serious damage in Korea, where it was introduced in 2006; it has since attacked some 25 plant species that can also be found in Pennsylvania. Spotted lanternfly feeds on a variety of host plants including fruit trees, ornamental trees, woody trees, and vines.

SpottedLanternflyEgglaying - GregHooverThis pest poses a significant threat to the state’s more than $20.5 million grape, nearly $134 million apple and more than $24 million stone fruit industries. Pine and hardwood logging in Pennsylvania also accounts for $12 billion in sales. The damage caused by this pest is so much so that around 5 Pennsylvania townships and 2 boroughs are on high alert after the state Department of Agriculture confirmed the presence of an invasive insect that threatens its grape vines, fruit trees and logging industry. To date, delimiting surveys conducted by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) indicate that the infested area may be approximately 30 square kilometers (11.6 square miles) in six townships and two municipalities in eastern Berks County.

The below article would aptly describe the threat posed by these pesky insects.

times tribune



Invasive insect found in Berks County feeds on fruit, ornamental, woody trees

By Vincent Cotrone

November 16, 2014

The first American chestnut disappeared from our forests and landscapes in the early 1900s when an exotic fungal disease, cryphonectria parasitica, aka chestnut blight, was accidentally introduced.

Next it was American elms that we lost to an imported disease in the 1960s. More recently, we have seen imported insects such as Emerald Ash Borer killing millions of native ash trees across the Eastern United States, Hemlock Woolly Adelgid, a tiny aphid like insect, causing major declines in native hemlock, and Asian Longhorned Beetles threatening maples in New York and New England.

“When will it end?” you might ask yourself. Apparently not anytime soon, because a new invasive insect (a planthopper) named the Spotted Lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) has just been discovered in Berks County. This pest is native to China, India and Vietnam. It attacks and feeds on many host plants including fruit trees (apples, pears, plums), ornamental trees, woody trees and vines. Apples, birch, cherry, dogwood, grapes, lilac, maple, poplar, stone fruits and tree-of-heaven are among more than 70 species of hosts attacked by this pest.

Adults and nymphs feed on phloem tissues of foliage and young stems with their piercing and sucking mouthparts and excrete large quantities of liquid. Due to the sugar content of the liquid, plant parts covered with spotted lanternfly excretion harbor mold growth, which could hinder plant growth or even cause death.

Think this is just another nuisance bug? Think again. This pest poses a significant threat to the state’s more than $20.5 million grape, nearly $134 million apple and more than $24 million stone fruit industries. Pine and hardwood logging in Pennsylvania also accounts for $12 billion in sales.

As the state Department of Agriculture tries to control the spread of this new pest by placing quarantines on the movement of plants, wood and stone materials out of Berks County, it will also be conducting surveys across the commonwealth to determine if the infestation is wide spread. This is where the home gardener and commercial landscaper or arborist comes in.

A research paper about the bug’s spread in Korea explains why it can be tough to control: “Furthermore, no natural enemy of L. delicatula seems to exist in Korea. Thus, farmers use pesticides to control them in vineyards (Park et al. 2009). However, the use of pesticides kills natural enemies of other grape pests and L. delicatula can repopulate pesticide-sprayed areas from nearby forested areas, which contain suitable host species.” Evidently, we need a solution which would prevent the spread of these insects, but at the same time not harm the beneficial pests in any way.

At C Tech Corporation, we offer a safe and infallible solution to deal with these tiny insects. Termirepel™ is a non-toxic, non-hazardous product that primarily repels insects from the application. It is a broad spectrum repellent which works against almost 500 species of pestering bugs thus efficaciously fending them away from the application.  The best feature of this product is that it is an eco-friendly product that causes no harm to the insect as well as humans and the environment. It is available in masterbatch and lacquer form, and as a liquid solution. To keep these insects at bay, this product can be coated on the tree trunks in lacquer form. The repelling mechanism of the product would ward off the Spotted Lanternfly and any other insect that could harm our beloved trees. Thus, using Termirepel™ would effectively ensure that our cherished trees remain protected from this destructive pest!

Sod Webworms- A culprit in destroying our lawns!

pic39One insect that is a major concern for gardeners and owners is the sod webworms. These are a common surface feeding insect that damage lawns. They live in virtually everyone’s lawn, but most of the time the damage is never noticed because there aren’t enough webworm larvae or the lawn is healthy and strong enough to repair itself.  No harm, no foul.  However, there are times when sod webworms become a problem and damage turf. Damage usually manifests itself as irregular dead patches that spread over time.  The grass blades seem to cut off at the crown and sometime you can see little balls of worm dropping or frass.

These pests look like tiny caterpillars but may not be visible as they hide in the soil. However, green pellets may be seen that they leave behind on grass blades. Sod webworms chew off the grass blades in lawns and the damage looks similar to a badly-cut lawn. What’s worse, sod webworms are drawn to beautiful looking lawns that are healthy and lush. They are small lawn caterpillars that feed on lawns, causing severe damage very quickly. Mature sod webworms can cause quite a bit of damage before they develop into dingy brown moths. They can consume enough grass in a short period of time to cause homeowners to think that the damage has occurred “overnight.”

sodwebwebwormdamagecropSmall brown spots may appear in the grass, a little at first, and then as the season progresses with rising temperatures and drier conditions, grass growth slows and the brown spots become larger and intersect. This is an indication of possible sod webworm infestation. They have even been noted to cause damage in small grain crops such as corn, wheat and oats. The most severe damage usually shows up in July and August when the temperature is hot and the grass is not growing vigorously. In fact, most sod webworm damage is mistaken for heat and drought stress. Sod webworm-damaged lawns may recover slowly, without irrigation and light fertilizations. These thin turf areas allow weeds to establish in the lawn making it unsightly.

The article given below would better explain the damage caused by these insects.


Tropical sod webworms active in local lawns

 By Larry Williams

October 2, 2014

During the past few weeks, numerous people have contacted the Okaloosa County Extension Office seeking diagnostic assistance and control options concerning fall sod webworms in their lawns.

Sod webworms are not consistently a problem every year. Some years their numbers are low enough that they are not a problem. Some years we do not see them at all.

Those years when they are a problem, it’s usually not until late summer and early fall that they become active. And, they may continue to feed on lawns until frost occurs.

Sod webworm larvae are commonly found feeding on St. Augustinegrass, bermudagrass and zoysiagrass.

sod-webworms-fall-armywormsSod webworms tend to feed in patches and feed at night.

Adults of these species are fairly small grayish to brown moths.

Because sod webworms feed at night, don’t be surprised if you can’t find them during the day. The greenish or tan caterpillars will be resting, curled up near the soil line.

If you have damaged spots in your lawn, look closely for notched leaf blades, the telltale signs of their chewing damage.

They may also be found by parting the grass and looking for small green caterpillars (no larger than ¾-inch in length) curled up on the soil surface and for small green or brown pellet-like droppings.

Picking the bugs off grass by hand is obviously not an effective solution. Thus we need a solution which would effectively keep the sod webworm population in check, keeping them away from our lawns and crops, while at the same time not having any negative impact on the environment.

C Tech Corporation offers a product called Termirepel™, which is a non-toxic, non-hazardous, environmentally safe insect repellent. It can repel more than 500 species of insects on account of it being a broad spectrum anti-insect repellent. The most striking feature of Termirepel™ is that it neither kills the target species, nor the non-target species. It will simply keep the insects away from the application. This product is available in masterbatch and lacquer form, and as a liquid solution. Termirepel™ can be added in mulches or incorporated in agricultural bags and films, which could be used to keep our lawns safe and guarded against the pesky sod webworms!