Beech scale, Cryptococcus fagisuga Lindinger, is a non-native invasive insect associated with beech bark disease. A quantitative method of measuring viable scale density at the levels of the individual tree and localized bark patches was developed. Bark patches (10 cm2) were removed at 0, 1, and 2 m above the ground and at the four cardinal directions from 13 trees in northern New York and 12 trees in northern Michigan. Digital photographs of each patch were made, and the wax mass area was measured from two random 1-cm2 subsamples on each bark patch using image analysis software. Viable scale insects were counted after removing the wax under a dissecting microscope. Separate regression analyses at the whole tree level for the New York and Michigan sites each showed a strong positive relationship of wax mass area with the number of underlying viable scale insects. The relationships for the New York and Michigan data were not significantly different from each other, and when pooling data from the two sites, there was still a significant positive relationship between wax mass area and the number of scale insects. The relationships between viable scale insects and wax mass area were different at the 0-, 1-, and 2-m sampling heights but do not seem to affect the relationship. This method does not disrupt the insect or its interactions with the host tree.
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