Phragmites scale attacking Louisiana Roseau cane

In Delta Farm Press

A team of 16 scientists and students led by the LSU AgCenter conducted a survey on May 31 to collect samples of a small insect that’s a potential threat to the fragile marsh of lower Plaquemines Parish, La.

The tiny insect, the Phragmites scale, is attacking Roseau cane, a plant similar to bamboo with a dense network of roots that hold marsh soil together.

 

LSU AgCenter entomologist Rodrigo Diaz said the survey is a good start for figuring out what can be done about the pest.

“We accomplished a lot,” Diaz said. “First, to coordinate logistics for future trips. Second, we established sites for long term-monitoring. And third, we collected baseline data of the conditions of Roseau at the beginning of the hurricane season.”

Other agencies participating in the survey included the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Also on the trip was Earl Armstrong, a lifelong resident of Plaquemines Parish, who first noticed the Roseau cane appeared to be dying on hundreds of acres about 18 months ago.

He observed that some stands of Roseau cane were so thin that an airboat could easily run through them, but a healthy stand is a challenging obstacle.

In areas of thin Roseau cane growth where the cane was growing back, the scales had already started feeding on the stalks of the new plants.

Read the entire story in Delta Farm Press.

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