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U.S. Forest Service, NAU To Treat And Study Insects That Threaten Aspen Stands

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The Kaibab National Forest is joining Northern Arizona University and the Arizona Elk Society to spray treat aspen stands infested with a tiny insect that threatens the iconic tree species. They’ll be working with USDA Forest Service Forest Health Protection on the project.

The treatments will help limit the spread of the insects and inform research to aid in the long-term preservation of healthy aspen stands across the Southwest.

The Oystershell Scale are tiny armored insects. They are considered by many experts to be an emerging invasive species issue with the potential to severely damage or even destroy northern Arizona's aspen over the coming years. Mature scales are about one-eighth-inch long and are the general shape of an oyster's shell. The insects' hard, protective coverings, which are constructed of wax, shed skins and other substances, are exceptionally difficult to penetrate, making treatments such as insecticide spraying more challenging on a large scale.

The area to be treated on the Kaibab National Forest covers 21 acres within aspen exclosures, which are small plots of fenced aspen stands, in Spring Valley about 7 miles north of Parks northwest of Government Hill.

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