Memories of an OMAFRA Summer Field Technician

I am Mieke Boecker, the 2021 OMAFRA Summer Field Technician. I worked closely with Jen Llewellyn, OMAFRA Nursery and Landscape Specialist on several projects and this article outlines some of the highlights of my summer contract with OMAFRA.

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Monitor Beech Trees For Introduced Beech Scale Nymphs in the Coming Weeks

White waxy filaments produced by beech scale mothers protect eggs and hatching nymphs on the trunk of this American beech (J. Llewellyn)

Introduced Beech scale (Cryptococcus fagisugae) goes hand in hand with beech bark disease (Neonectria faginata and N. ditissima).  It is believed that the wounds made by the tiny scale nymphs create entry points for the lethal fungal disease.   Beech scale is easier to see this time of year on our native American beech (Fagus grandifolia).  That’s because of the white waxy coverings the females produced to protect their eggs in late summer. Continue reading

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Magnolia Scale Crawlers are Active

MagnoliaScaleJuly28Magnolia scale Adult females (photo above) have given birth to live young, and these tiny, dark crawlers are venturing out to feed on twigs in the landscape.

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Seeing Leaf Chlorosis? Foliar Nutrient Testing Can Help Solve the Mystery

                    Do you ever see chlorotic or stunted leaves and wonder if it could be a particular nutrient deficiency?  Soil nutrient testing can be a good tool to assess levels of macro and micronutrients.  We use soil tests to help make decisions about adding fertilizer and organic materials to the soil.  But what soil tests don’t always tell you is……how much of the nutrient is available for plant uptake?  To get a more accurate picture of nutrients that could be deficient (or excessive), we look to foliar nutrient content analysis. 

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These Cloudy, Hazy, Humid Days are Numbered

U.S. forest fires make the Big Smoke even smokier, but there's no risk to  human health, expert says | CBC News
Photo credit:

Looking up at the sky today, it was so hazy you couldn’t see much but a fuzzy-looking grey. This is a different kind of overcast than what we normally get to experience. Hundreds of wildfires are burning in the west and prevailing winds are carrying the smoke eastward to Ontario and beyond. “The layer of smoke is in the upper atmosphere and it is not affecting air quality”, Peter Kimbell, a warning preparedness meteorologist for Environment Canada based in Ottawa, told CBC Toronto. Get ready for some cooler weather on its way for Wednesday 🙂

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Start Treating for the 2nd Generation of BTM Larvae in Toronto

Feeding damage and one larva of box tree moth
Early-Mid Instar Larva of Box Tree Moth (Cydalima perspectalis) can be found actively feeding on boxwood in some residential gardens. This is the second generation of larvae for the 2021 season and they can be found feeding for the next 3-4 weeks. Inspect all twigs and foliage carefully, pull branches apart to find well-camouflaged green larvae with black heads hiding on inside foliage. This is the perfect time to spray biological insecticides like Dipel, Xentari, Bioprotec. There is also an emergency use registration for Deltagard SC for agriculture. (photo: J. Llewellyn).

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The Friyay Report – July 8th, 2021

Flightless, adult female Gypsy moths are crawling up trunks and laying their eggs in bark crevices. Ontario is seeing moderate-severe infestation levels of Gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar) across southern Ontario again this year. But we have some good news to report!
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You Are Ontario’s Early Warning System: Spotted Lanternfly NYMPHS!


Here’s a pest you have been hearing about more and more, the Spotted Lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula).  It is not a fly, but a planthopper. In the Order Hemiptera, Family Fulgoridae.  It is actually a much stronger hopper than it is a flyer.  They may remind you of frogs they way they sit and hop around. Found recently in the US and now spreading rapidly across several states,  Spotted Lanternfly is a pest we are actively looking for in Ontario. IF YOU THINK YOU HAVE FOUND THIS PEST, PLEASE REPORT IT TO CFIA BY CLICKING HERE. OR Call: 1-800-442-2342

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Japanese Beetles Have Started To Emerge

<a href="/clm/species/popillia_japonica"><em>Popillia japonica</em></a> (Japanese Beetle) adult on cedar.       Japanese Beetle (Popillia japonica) adults are starting to take flight in southern Ontario!  They have been spotted in Hamilton and Toronto this week. Continue reading

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Plant and Insect Development is 2 Weeks + Ahead of Last Year!

Dead Gypsy moth Larva hanging from leaf mid vein, killed by virus

Is this a Gypsy moth larva doing yoga? NO! Its the symptoms of infection by a naturally occuring Nucelar Polyhedrosis Virus (NPV). We are starting to see larvae succumbing to NPV in infested forested areas, likely due to understory canopy buffering against wind and rain dispersal of NPV particles. They say one infected larva can be a source of as many as 1 Million virus particles! Thanksfully, NPV is specific to Gypsy moth.

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