It is confirmed, Metcalfa pruinosa has reached Iași

[embedyt][/embedyt] Metcalfa pruinosa, a species of cicada polyphagia from the East part of North America, was first identified in Europe in 1979 in Italy. On the Romanian territory, this pest was first signalized in Constanța and Timișoara in 2009 and later in Arad and Ilfov county (2013) and in Cluj as well (2015).

Unfortunately, Metcalfa pruinosa has reached Iași too.

Metcalfa pruinosa has one generation per year and five larval stages of different sizes. The sexual dimorphism is poorly marked as females are extremely difficult to tell apart from males.

Adults live for several weeks and emerge from May till October depending on climatic conditions. They are between 7 and 8 mm in size, have triangular back wings kept close to the body in vertical position and in the rear part they have a few (2-5) dark spots. Their colour ranges from shades of brown to grey. They are disturbed by light and sun rays, preferring dark shadowed places.

The larvae are white, flattened and covered by a white waxy secretion.

The attack signs of the Metcalfa pruinosa

A poliphagus species, Metcalfa pruinosa has as host plants over 200 species, of a wide range from voluntary plants to fruit trees, especially ornamental shrubs and trees. The colonies of Metcalfa pruinosa can be easily mistaken for those of the woolly plant louse (Eriosoma lanigerum) due to their larval white fluff.

Both larvae and adults secrete a series of sweet substances which appeal to bees and also favour the emergence of fungus, such as Capnodium, with all their assembly of unwanted effects upon fruit trees. The effects upon humans: on prolonged skin contact with the white fluff secreted by the larvae, the following symptoms may occur: itching, heating and sting sensation. It is recommended to avoid direct contact and wash with water and soap in case of prolonged contact.

About the economic impact of this species, Metcalfa pruinosa causes a slowdown of plant and fruit development, affects the wood maturing and also the differentiation of the shoots from fruit.

Prevention and control: due to the large number of host plants (over 200), the high migration potential and waxy protection of the larvae, the chemical control is difficult to achieve. The prevention can be done by spraying in the bark of the host plants or at the base of the stalks with insecticides from the categories of Organophosphate or Neonicotidoide class. The same product category can be employed for controlling by alternative sprayings (every 5 days) during periods of massive attack. For the biological control, there have been done studies regarding the introduction in Europe of some parasite Hymenoptera from Drynidae family, mainly Neodrynus typhlocybae. The practicians of the ecological agriculture signal satisfying results obtained from an eradicator solution made of black pepper or hot pepper.

General rules for plant protection

* Read carefully and respect the measures written on the product label/ packing you are using.

* Respect the respite time mentioned on the product label/ packing you are using.

* For bee protection it is mandatory to respect the Order concerning the measures for protecting bee families against pesticide intoxications (The Common Order no. 45/1991 issued by the Ministry of Agriculture and Alimentation;  1786/TB/1991 issued by the Transport Ministry; 65/05.02.1992 issued by the Environment Ministry; 15 b/ 3404/1991 issued by the Department for Local Administration and 127/1991 issued by the Association of Beekeepers from Romania, the Apiculture Law 383 /2013, Collaboration Protocol no. 328.432/31.03.205 closed between the National Phytosanitary Agency and the Association of Beekeepers from Romania on implementing the legislation for bee family protection against intoxication caused by products for plant protection.

*The agricultural producers have to keep the Register of Treatments for Plant Protection (in accordance with the model suggested). According to the regulation (CE) no.1107/2009, art.67, the professional users of products for plant protection are obligated to keep a register of the products for plant protection they use for at least 3 years.

*Respect the cross-compliance rules as specified in the Order no. 352 issued on February, 10th,  2015, according to which any farmer who requests payments within the support schemes and measures should respect the demands related to the proper use of products for plant protection (SMR 10).

* To avoid the birth of resistant breeds to some product (the chemical group of products), use the seasonal treatments, products from different chemical groups or with a different course of action.

* Respect the work safety regulations regarding the handling of products for plant protection and work security.

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