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Invasive insect affects Utah native aspen trees

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USU Extension
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The Oystershell scale is an invasive insect that can weaken and kill aspen trees has recently been confirmed in native forests in Utah. The insect has likely been affecting trees and shrubs in Utah’s landscapes for decades, but, it wasn’t until recently that the USDA Forest Service’s Forest Health Protection program has confirmed its presence in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest in Pole Canyon, east of the Provo area.

According to Darren McAvoy, USU Extension forestry professor, the oystershell scale is a tiny sap-sucking insect that matures over the summer and develops a waxy outer shell that looks like a tiny oyster shell attached to the bark of the tree. Initially they will affect a small portion of a tree but can eventually encrust whole branches and cause branch dieback, leading to tree death.

Kailey Foster is a senior at Utah State University studying Agricultural Communications, Broadcast Journalism, and Political Science while also getting a minor in Agribusiness. She was raised in the dairy industry in Rhode Island where she found her passion for the agriculture industry as a whole. Here at USU, she has held various leadership positions in the Dairy Science Club and the local Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow chapter. She also also served as the 2020 Utah Miss Agriculture and is currently the 2021 Utah Ms. Agriculture. Here at UPR, she works on agriculture news stories and she produces agriculture segments such as USU Extension Highlights, the Green Thumb, and Ag Matters.