To be able to control the pests, our company offers comprehensive care: a system using one set of techniques and appropriate methods, in the most compatible way possible. It helps to maintain and control the level and population of pests, establishing methods and specific actions for each stage development.
The Pine Processionary
Thaumetopoea pytiocampa Schiff’’.
The pine processionary is a Lepidoptera, a large order of moths. Which means scaly wings, formed by butterflies and moths. There is known to be around more than 160.000 species.
The unusual long curved insect, after metamorphosis it transforms into an adult or maggot, not normally damaging the plants and only eliminating the nectar from the flowers, various juices etc. Acting as pollinators and sometimes not even including any nurturing.
The Adults of Lepidoptera have wings and a scaly body, which is seen to easily escape from predators and serves to give a cryptic coloration (of concealment), aposematic(warning) or recognition between sexes. The breadth of the wings can vary from 1mm to 30mm.
There are a lot of existing cases of polymorphism i.e. different forms, size, coloration and both in the stages of larval development and adulthood. Also in some cases of each generation the individuals can be different.
For example, the male usually possess more branch and complex antennas then the female. With the conclusion the female having a lower abdomen than the male, however both male and female could lead to distinction.
They have a high reproduction rate and the majority of the species are phytophagous, with very voracious wings, which can cause considerable damage and can convert into pests. The reproduction of the Lepidoptera is almost always sexual and oviparous with male and female. The female produces sex pheromones as well as odor like substances, which can be unique with every species, however also in very small quantities the male is attracted and from a far distance. The males also will release pheromone when operated at the time of mating. Once the eggs are deposited caterpillars are developed, going into phytophagous feeding mode. It becomes very constant and voracious; both plant feeding and plant angiosperms, converting it into a pest of forest plants, which is very typical in the area of the Mediterranean., where it attacks coniferous forests. Especially attacking the pine and cedar trees.
This is a lepidopteran insect with the form of a moth, which recognized for its antennas and comb-shaped body. Its chest follows by many grey hairs and abdomen with large grey scales. The positioned wings are whitish and have a dark spot on its back.
The life cycle of the processionary passes through 5 different stages.
The female butterflies are responsible for performing egg laying, which may vary from 120 to 300 at once on the leaves they select by olfactory stimuli and tactile.
The stages are performed orderly, forming a yellowish pod like Canute, performing a helical movement. Starting from the interior to the exterior and around the leaves. The caterpillars are then born 30 to 40 days after with a gregarious behavior, building very faint silk nests.
In the First, second and third stage they start to feed on the leaves. In which they begin to form pockets on the side of the branches where the sunlight is released. The duration of the fourth stage is variable, lasting one month in the coldest areas throughout the whole of winter.
The fifth and last stage is performed towards the beginning of spring.The feeding of the caterpillars becomes intense, reaching to completely defoliate the pine trees. This period ends with the abandonment by the caterpillars that live in the trees, forming a typical ‘’procession’’, to address suited areas like dams in temperate or usually cold regions or clearings in the forest. In summer, towards the end of June to the end of September the caterpillars begin to transform into butterflies, starting its reproductive cycle.
In Mallorca it is essentially the Mediterranean pine – Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis Mill.) – However it can also affect all types of pine.
It mainly produces defoliation in autumn and winter. The tree than Sprouts again in spring and in rare occasions it dies due to the attack of processionary, although its development is greatly reduced and which facilitating the attack of another type of infection.
Another issue occasionally caused by the processionary is discomfort, allergic disorders,nettle rash and may affect logging, collecting in sprockets and recreational areas. The caterpillars are coated with stinging hairs which disperse and float in the air, which can cause irritation to the skin, eyes and nose even without having any contact towards them.
Comprehensive Treatment. Control Methods
It is the cycle of the processionary which is the laying of eggs by butterflies, starting in July-August. Therefore it is important to control the cycle in the month of June, by using box pheromone traps to catch the males.
The Revision on different bags, subsequent counting and valuation of population in marked locations, allows us to calculate the flight curve and intensity of population in marked locations. This will enable us to determine the areas that have been most attacked by the processionary and when the caterpillars were born.
We must emphasize that all products used are completely biological and respect the environment.
Microbial Insecticide Treatment
In the months of October-November the first caterpillars are produced. At the start of October it is possible to start with treatment of fumigation with biological products.
The treatment should start in the month of October depending on the climate and cycle. On this date they attack the processionary late in the larval stages, formulations Bacillus thuringiensis Kurstaki (32 million of U.I. / g.)
The product used acts exclusively by ingestion, specifically on the eggs of butterflies and moths. A few hours later after ingesting the insecticide, the caterpillars cease feeding and no longer causes harm to the plants.
Most of the caterpillars will die 24 to 72 hours later. The objective of the treatment is to find and destroy more than 80% of the eggs.
Treatment with Growth Inhibitors (IGR.)
The growing inhibitors and biorational insecticides disturbs any elementary process of insects, generally causing disruption of the molting of the caterpillars.
The treatment is started in the first stages, however the insecticide does not kill the insects instantly but the time required for molting is less. This means that the damaged occurred in more advanced stages can be avoided. If necessary the second treatment can be made during the months of November-December, in the advanced stages. This can take place depending on the climate and monitoring of the pine trees.
On these dates in one stage the processionary will be attacked with a more advanced chemical product, “Diflubenzuron”, inhibiting the development of the larvas making them unable to synthesis. It is necessary for their skin to change between stages. The insecticide in groups swallow benzoyl- urea, which affects exclusively to the insects defoliating. The product is highly recommended by the Biological control Organization, which is in integrated control of the forest pests.
The objective of the treatment is to reduce the growth and maximize the eradication of the wingless stages of the insects.
Program Control and Monitoring Area
A subsequent monitoring of each client is made, by area, locating and treating the bags by mechanical elimination and punctual treatment to bags accessible to non-insecticide bags.
At this stage they attack the pockets that may have been left, eliminating the more accessible pockets and eliminating mechanical action or applications performed with insecticide chemicals, a common one is Alfacepermitrina.