Oct 02, 2013
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This summer we have seen a lot of insect activity in trees. The two most common insects are Ambrosia beetles and Turpentine beetles. Generally fall is a time when with the heat of summer behind us, we tend to relax our guards regarding tree insect infestations. But this is a mistake. Although the heat stress of summer has passed, trees are still stressed due to our climate over the past ten years, and insects target stressed trees. Ambrosia beetles are particularly dangerous because they will attack healthy trees. Please see the photo. Once you have seen an Ambrosia beetle infestation you will never forget it. The insect frass looks like white toothpicks sticking out of the tree bark. Rainfall can collapse the toothpicks and wash them away, leaving a white gimlet in the hole in the trunk the beetles made. When the toothpicks are gone, arborists look for the unique white color of the frass, and the size of the hole.

Ambrosia beetle toothpicks

Ambrosia beetles are most difficult to treat and most Arborists call for immediate removal of the infested tree, and prophylactic treatment of surrounding trees with a bark penetrating insecticide. Time is of the essence — Do not delay in treating Ambrosia beetles.

Ambrosia beetles prefer thin skinned trees, like maples and crapes, but they will attack any species. We are seeing them in southern pines this year — perhaps the thickest bark trees in the Atlanta area. Speaking of pines, we are seeing numerous turpentine beetle infested pines late this summer. These infestations are characterized by large pitch tubes on the trunk close to the base. Please see photo. The pitch tube is the way the tree defends itself. The wound is flooded with sap and captures the beetle. These beetles are fairly easy to treat if detected early.

Turpentine beetle pitch tubes in pine tree.

In my last blog article, I wrote about the extraordinary demand this year has brought, and I’d like to provide an update. To put this in perspective, prior to June 14, 2013, our year to year revenues were up 44%. Since June 14th, our revenues have increased 59%, year to year. We have added another crew and we’re still working overtime. For new work, we’re presently scheduling mid-November, which is perfect for most seasonal pruning. There are good reasons why some customers can’t wait that long. For them, we are saving white space in our schedule for ‘move-ups.’ If you need special consideration, please don’t hesitate to request it. The good news is that we are finally seeing our telephone calls begin to taper as they normally do in the fall, and we hope to return to a more normal two – three week lead time by year end.