Tipping the Scales


Giant Pine Scale

The family Margarodidae contains the “Giant Scale Insects” including the Giant Pine Scale, Marchalina hellenica, a whopping 8 mm long. This scale insect is native to the eastern Mediterranean including Greece and Turkey. The scale insect feeds on pine and fir and secretes a cottony protective covering.  It also secretes honeydew that honeybees use for food. Giant Pine Scale is popular among beekeepers because it creates a source of food in pine forests where nectar may be sparse. Beekeepers may artificially infest trees to increase production of pine honey.

The scale also damages pine trees and in large numbers can kill a tree. There is a tension between foresters concerned about the long term health of the forest and beekeepers who are using the forest for short term economic gain. Should the infestation of the trees be better managed?  Forested areas have many sometimes incompatible uses.  How they are managed mayl not please everyone and may fail to protect the longer term forest health.

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in by jjneal, Environment, Policy. Bookmark the permalink.

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