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1 June 2013 Evaluation of Digital Photography for Quantifying Cryptococcus fagisuga (Hemiptera: Eriococcidae) Density on American Beech Trees
D. J. Wieferich, D. B. Hayes, D. G. McCullough
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Beech scale (Cryptococcus fagisuga Lindinger) (Hemiptera: Eriococcidae) is an invasive forest insect established in the eastern United States and Canada. It predisposes American beech (Fagus grandifolia Ehrhart) trees to infection by Neonectria spp. Fungi causing beech bark disease. White wax secreted by the diminutive scales obscures individual insects, making it difficult to accurately quantify beech scale density. Our goals were to 1) evaluate the relationship between the area of wax and number of beech scales on bark samples, 2) determine whether digital photos of bark could accurately quantify beech scale density, and 3) compare efficiency and utility of a qualitative visual estimate and using the quantitative digital photo technique to assess beech scale populations. We visually estimated beech scale abundance and photographed designated areas on the trunk of 427 trees in 40 sites across Michigan. Photos were analyzed using a binary threshold technique to quantify the area of beech scale wax on each photo. We also photographed and then collected 104 bark samples from 45 additional beech trees in ten sites. We removed the wax, counted individual scales on each sample using a microscope, and assessed the linear relationship between wax area and scale counts. Area of wax explained ≈80% of the variability in scale density. We could typically quantify beech scale density on 15 photographs per hour. Qualitative visual assessments of beech scale in the field corresponded with estimates derived from photos of bark samples for 79% of trees.

© 2013 Entomological Society of America
D. J. Wieferich, D. B. Hayes, and D. G. McCullough "Evaluation of Digital Photography for Quantifying Cryptococcus fagisuga (Hemiptera: Eriococcidae) Density on American Beech Trees," Journal of Economic Entomology 106(3), 1324-1330, (1 June 2013).
Received: 12 September 2012; Accepted: 4 March 2013; Published: 1 June 2013

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beech bark disease
Cryptococcus fagisuga
Fagus grandifolia
invasive forest pest
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