Plague. Not that one

We have some unique pests to deal with in Australia. Post your experiences and treatments here for others to learn from.
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GavinG
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Plague. Not that one

Post by GavinG »

I've been recently hit by a plague of leaf-eating nasties - I've not had this kind of problem before. They look just like dried bits of leaves, but when you squish them, they're juicy. They've been absolutely devastating - I lost half a couple of trees overnight, it seemed, and after I sprayed them with Confidor I lost most of the rest of the leaves! They spread rapidly, and can kill very quickly.

They seem to prefer crab apples, English elms and Japanese.maples, and the small-leafed natives like Kunzeas. I've fairly much defoliated the exotics, but the only real control has been to pull and squash each bug individually - on the first day that took two hours! They are still turning up, 5 or 10 a day across quite a number of trees, and I know they will explode again if I lose control. Very nasty indeed.

I will be trying the RichGro BugKill granules (=Confidor) to try to poison the sap that they are eating, but I'm not entirely hopeful. I'm usually fairly peaceful, but if anything attacks my trees, IT'S WAR!!!!! There's nothing in flower until spring - no bees will suffer.

This is how they look on the tree - a perfect disguise against bird-attack!
P1060139.jpg
And this is a close up:
P1060142.jpg
I suspect that the particularly wet, mild summer may be behind it - that or the Russians are invading!

Keep a good watch,

Gavin
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Re: Plague. Not that one

Post by Keels »

That does look pretty nasty. I have had issues with pests on my callistemons this year. I also believe its the result of the wet weather.
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Re: Plague. Not that one

Post by shibui »

Is that some sort of case moth Gavin? - small pieces of leaf glued onto a silk bag with the grubs inside.
There are many different sorts, each with a specific size, shape and choice of camouflage/protecting layer. None of the species I've seen here have been a problem as there's usually low numbers but I've seen mention from USA that they have some that come in large numbers and wreak havoc.

As the grub is protected inside the bag ordinary contact pesticides do not seem to affect them.
The Imacloprid formulations (confidort or Bug Killa) are systemic so travel right through the tree killing anything that chews it.
If these are case moth caterpillars Dipel (Bacillis thurigensis) should also be effective as a spray when the grubs eat the sprayed leaves and it is one that appears to only affect caterpillars.

Good luck with the war.
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GavinG
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Re: Plague. Not that one

Post by GavinG »

When I was silent and still for a few minutes (as in flummoxed and sour) I saw two of these "dead leaves" get up and start quietly walking away... The whole unit appears to be alive, it's not just a sack disguise. I suspect they detect movement or noise, and go completely immobile to put birds off the scent. I'm still taking off thirty every two days, and there's a gentle drift to other trees... Very nasty. RichGro granules are going on today. I hope they die hideously.

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Re: Plague. Not that one

Post by Keep Calm and Ramify »

What destructive little pests these are!
Haven't seen these before - thanks for showing pics.
I will need to keep an eye out as I've had a few bagworms found lately, but nothing like the quantities & extent of damage your experiencing with these little freaks.
Hope you can eliminate quickly.
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Re: Plague. Not that one

Post by Sno »

My guess is you have a chronic case of Extatosoma tiaratum . And these are just the babies . A pet shop may be interested . My nephew sells them for something like ten dollars each .
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