Roots, Shoots, Fruits & Flowers: Peach Scales, Asian Ambrosia Beetles, Bee-friendly Pesticide, & More Blueberry Blues

Chaery wrote to AHA and asked, “What is this and what can I use to treat it?” She included an image showing white scales.

AHA consulted Dr. Raj Singh, the AgCenter’s “Plant Doctor” for identification and treatment. Dr. Singh responded, “These look like white peach scale insects. The males have elongated shells and the females are oblong. I have pointed females with yellow arrows and males with a red arrow in the attached photo that you sent to me.”

Dr. Mary Ferguson, AgCenter Extension Agent, describes this treatment for scale insects, “One option for many types of plants is to apply horticultural oil during the dormant season or, in some situations, during the growing season. Good coverage is essential when using horticultural oils, since they only work on direct contact with insects. Be sure to follow label instructions when applying horticultural oils to avoid injuring plants.”

Silas Cecil, AgCenter 4-H Agent in LaSalle Parish, sent images of some tiny beetles and an email, “[I] Received some beetles that are flying around at evening/night and tend to bite people. Please see attached photos and advise!”

AHA consulted with Mr. Wood Johnson, an insect specialist with the US Forest Service about this insect, and he shared his comments, “That is Xylosandrus crassiusculus, a nonnative [Asian] ambrosia beetle. It is exceedingly common in the Southeast, where it colonizes dead and dying hardwoods. Its host list is massive. It is not known to cause tree or shrub mortality, but it will colonize trees that are severely stressed from some other cause.

I read the emails below and laughed when I saw the ‘biting people’ part. My coworker was just telling me about the same thing when they tried to have a July 4th bonfire. He said they could not stay out there for all the little rascals climbing up shirt sleeves and shorts. I suspect the abundance of downed material from Hurricanes Delta and Laura has produced a mega-emergence of this critter, and there is less and less material for them to colonize as the storm debris decomposes. They fly at dusk, and it is not unusual for them to light on you, especially if you are drinking a beer [because alcohol attracts these insects].”

After last week’s RSFF about armyworms, Peggy asked, “Which pesticide for armyworms is safe to use around bees?” Most of the insecticides listed in the previous article could harm honeybees if applied incorrectly.

AHA shared this reply, “Let us start with Bacillus thuringiensis or Bt. It is a pathogen that only infects caterpillars. Products like Dipel™ or Thuricide™ would have Bt. There are likely other brand name products with Bt. This organic pesticide has special requirements for storage because it contains living organisms so reading the label is essential for using this product effectively.

Jo sent an email about the difference in the quality of her blueberry shrubs, “I have several blueberry bushes of two different varieties. The [late yielding shrub is] producing ones [and] always has a lot of berries that either do not turn blue and enlarge or they turn blue but stay small without much juice or flavor. Any thoughts? They are planted right by the variety that produces fat juicy berries.” AHA asked about the age and the varieties of blueberries, but Jo was unable to recall the answer. Still, AHA consulted with Dr. Mary Ferguson, AgCenter Extension Agent, about Jo’s question.

Dr. Ferguson shared her thoughts about this case, “Since the other variety seems to develop normally, it sounds like the flowering times likely overlap enough that cross-pollination should be adequate, unless the variety that ripens earlier just isn’t as sensitive to low levels of cross-pollination.

Another thought is that small/fewer sweet berries are just characteristics of the other variety. It is hard to say without knowing what the varieties are. If she has not had a soil test lately, she might want to check to make sure fertility isn’t an issue.”


“Before you buy or use an insecticide product, first read the label, and strictly follow label recommendations. Mention of trade names or commercial products in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute endorsement by Louisiana State University AgCenter.”

“This work has been supported, in part, by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Renewable Resources Extension Act Award, Accession Number 1011417.”

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White Peach Scale Insects

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Asian Ambrosia Beetle

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7/15/2021 2:33:36 PM
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