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.........   Control of the pine tortoiseshell mealybug   .........

Control of the pine tortoiseshell mealybug

A new pine pest was reported in September 2021 in the municipality of SaintTropez: the pine tortoise mealybug, Toumeyella parvicornis.

This is the first detection in France of this insect, which since 2014 has caused significant damage in Italy to umbrella pines and maritime pines in the cities of Naples and Rome. Colonies of pine turtle mealybugs settle on the needles and branches of trees, suck the sap and cause first the reddening of the needles and then a mortality of increasingly large branches which can lead to the mortality of the tree. tree. The spread of this cochineal is done by the wind during the growing season but also by the planting of contaminated trees.

Faced with this threat, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food published an order on March 16, 2022 aimed at preventing the introduction and spread of this cochineal. Following an in-depth survey entrusted to the Regional Federation for the Defense against Harmful Organisms, an order from the Prefect of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region delimits the municipalities concerned by these measures, namely the municipalities of Cogolin, Gassin, Grimaud, La Croix-Valmer, Le Plan de la Tour, Ramatuelle, Saint-Tropez, Sainte-Maxime.

In this zone, the mandatory measures apply to sensitive pine species (1) intended for planting and to wood resulting from the pruning of branches or the felling of contaminated trees:

 Nurseries, landscapers, garden centers and other growers or sellers of plants should report trees for planting suspected of being contaminated, so that they can be pruned or destroyed after confirmation of the presence of the pine turtle mealybug.

 Branches and trunks resulting from the pruning and felling of contaminated trees must not leave the perimeter of the demarcated area.

 Pines intended for planting, grown in a delimited area, cannot be sold outside this area without an authorization issued after official control.

In addition, it is recommended that individuals and other pine holders report to plant professionals any trees showing signs of attack, namely the reddening of the needles but also the presence of sooty mold, the black coloring of the needles due to insect excretion. Depending on their condition and size, these trees may be treated and/or pruned at the holder's expense. The branches attacked by this insect become very brittle, so it is recommended to entrust their pruning to professionals or to carry it out with great care.

(1) Pinus australis, P. banksiana, P. caribaea var. bahamensis, P. contorta, P. echinata, P. elliottii, P. glabra, P. mugo, P. nigra, P. palustris, P. pinaster, P. pinea, P. sylvestris, P. taeda and P. virginiana




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