Cottage Grove sentinel. (Cottage Grove, Or.) 1909-current, October 28, 2015, Page 8A, Image 8

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    8A COTTAGE GROVE SENTINEL October 28, 2015
New insect pestering people and plants in Willamette Valley
be reproducing on these plants.
More likely the whitefl ies are
moving on to them for winter
protection.
Comments and questions
about the aggravating insect are
trending on social media and
lighting up the hotlines of Ex-
tension’s Master Gardeners.
“There are a lot of calls,” said
Margaret Bayne, administrative
specialist for the Master Gar-
dener program in the Portland
metro area. “We’re telling peo-
ple not to worry and to wait for
OSU and the Oregon Depart-
ment of Agriculture to monitor
it and make recommendations.”
In addition to the large num-
ber of whitefl ies fl oating around,
people will begin to notice they
secrete a substance similar to the
honeydew produced by aphids.
“It’s a sticky goo that can rain
down on sidewalks and cars and
be a real nuisance for people,”
Rosetta said. “That will be what
pushes people to ask about pes-
ticides.”
Chemicals won’t have much
of an effect, however, because
the plants get re-infested so
quickly.
“In one or two weeks it will
look like you haven’t sprayed
at all,” she said. “I don’t recom-
mend spraying at this point. The
plants like ash and ornamental
pear where we’re seeing multi-
ple life stages are all deciduous
and the leaves will fall soon.”
Until more monitoring is
C
louds of small white-
winged insects fl ying
around homes, gardens and even
parking lots up and down the
Willamette Valley have the pub-
lic more than a little annoyed.
“The ash whitefl y, which was
fi rst detected last year, is becom-
ing quite noticeable for most
of us, particularly in the metro
area, because they’re fl oating
around in high numbers,” said
Robin Rosetta, an entomologist
with Oregon State University’s
Extension Service.
“Many are familiar with
whitefl ies, but this is a new one.
How impactful it will be is yet
to be seen.”
So far, limited plant damage
has been detected in Oregon,
according to Rosetta, though
the ash whitefl y (Siphoninus
phillyeae) can cause curled or
stunted leaves and, in some cas-
es, defoliation. The sap-sucking
insect has a long list of plants
it prefers. In California, where
it showed up in 1988 and has
largely disappeared due to an
introduced parasitic wasp, there
were about 40 host plants. In
Oregon, they’ve been seen on
Oregon ash, ornamental pear,
hawthorn and fl owering quince.
Other plants such as box-
wood, barberry, rhododendrons
and azaleas appear to attract the
insect, but it doesn’t seem to
done, recommendations are
sparse. Using sticky traps may
help, as well as raking up in-
fested leaves.
In California, the population
of ash whitefl y declined by 99
percent within two years after
the introduction of a parasitic
wasp that is a natural predator,
Rosetta said. She and offi cials at
the Oregon Department of Agri-
culture hope the wasp will show
up in Oregon on its own, or that
they can get regulations in place
in the next two to three years to
import the insect.
“Bio-control is a pretty cool
thing,” Rosetta said. “We have
to be patient in the meantime.
So sit tight.”
Though other whitefl ies are
common in Oregon, includ-
ing the ubiquitous greenhouse
type, the juvenile ash whitefl y
is distinctive. The tiny eggs,
which are laid on the under-
side of leaves, are pale yellow
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photo by Robin Rosetta
Although the ash whitefl y showed up in Oregon in 2014,
its population increased exponentially this year.
e
v
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o
m
Auto lties
Specia
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Patton’s Country Gardens
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and hatch into nymphs that are
almost translucent at fi rst and
then more opaque as they be-
come covered in tufts of white
wax, according to Rosetta. They
develop into brown, egg-shaped
young insects – called pupae –
that can cause injury to the plant
by sucking out its sap.
As temperatures drop, the in-
sects will become sluggish in
their reproduction and activity
and will largely disappear from
sight with freezing weather. In
spring, the whitefl ies start mul-
tiplying more quickly and by
late summer and fall numbers
are high. How many are around
next year depends on winter
temperatures. A mild winter
could mean even more next sea-
son.
For more information, refer to
OSU’s Pacifi c Northwest Nurs-
ery IPM website.
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