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|Colaspis beetles forage Louisiana pine trees|
An insect infestation aggravated by hot, dry weather is to blame for turning pine trees brown in Franklin Parish, according to agriculture officials.
The culprit is the pine colaspis beetle, a seasonal insect that is infamous for ravaging southern pine, said Carol Pinnell-Alison of the LSU AgCenter.
"I have received several calls around the parish from people concerned that their pine trees are dying. What is happening is the pine colaspis beetle is feeding on the trees' pine needles and the dry weather is making it look worse," she said.
The good news is that the trees, which appear to have been scorched by fire, are generally not dying and there are ways to combat the insect, said Pinnell-Alison.
Often when homeowners see the damage on the trees the beetles have already moved out, but insecticides can be beneficial and can help prevent the unsightly damage if used quickly, according to LSU AgCenter officials.
The LSU AgCenter recommends three insecticides for control of the pine colaspis — Malathion 57 percent EC, Carbaryl 50WP and Orthene TTO/75S.
Pine colaspis beetles are found throughout the southeast but mainly along the Gulf Coast.
They prefer slash pines but have been reported on other southern pines, bald cypress and ornamental spruce.
The pine colaspis adults are oval shaped, convex and a rusty yellow to greenish color.
These moderate sized beetles are about a quarter of an inch in length.
Adult beetles will chew the edges of needles producing an irregular saw-like edge that will turn brown.
Later the entire needle will die causing the whole tree to become brown and have the scorched burnt color. Sometimes, only the tips of the needles will show signs of injury.
Trees will not die and generally very little or no growth loss will occur.
The attacks of the pine colaspis usually occur in early summer. By late summer the trees appear green and healthy again, the AgCenter reports.
Until then, agriculture officials suggest homeowners pay special attention to their trees.
"Mainly, people need to water the trees and they can put out fertilizer. They should be careful, however, not to fertilize trees if they do not water them, because that can damage the trees," Pinnell-Alison said.