UPDATE: Over 500 bug infested oak trees in downtown Chattanooga being treated
The honeydew is the Lecanium Scale's waste and can get on sidewalks and vehicles. City officials say the trees are susceptible to the bugs because they are malnourished due to soil pH levels.
UPDATE: Over 500 oak trees are infested with scale insects in downtown Chattanooga.
The firm that will treat the trees was announced Tuesday. ABC Tree Company was awarded the job, according to Chattanooga Public Works.
The trees are located along Broad Street, Market Street and Riverfront Parkway. They are infested with insects known as Lecanium Scale.
Chattanooga Public Works said ABC Tree Company began treating the trees Monday. Crews will begin working each night at 6:00 pm. The project is expected to take several weeks to complete.
The owner of ABC Tree Company said they are using Transtect, which is approved by the EPA, to treat the trees.
The city will pay $17,711 for the treatments.
PREVIOUS STORY: About 500 trees in downtown are infected with a bug called Lecanium Scale. About 300 trees are impacted on Riverview Parkway, while the remaining 200 are in the Central Business District.
"On market and broad street between north MLK and Aquarium Way," says Richel Albright, communications director for the city of Chattanooga.
The Lecanium Scale looks like tiny little shells, that look like eggs, barely wider than a thumbnail. The insect lives underneath the shells for protection.
"Part of their life cycle -- two things: they suck out the juice of the tree, and the other part, while they are active and growing, they excrete a little drop called honeydew," states the city forester, Gene Hyde.
The honeydew is the Lecanium Scale's waste and can get on sidewalks and vehicles. Hyde says the trees are susceptible to the bugs because they are malnourished due to soil pH levels.
Albright says they are hoping to find a natural way to get rid of the Lecanium Scale.
"Replacing and fixing these trees will vary on their size. It could range anywhere from 300 to upward of a thousand dollars," adds Albright.
Hyde adds the natural option could be lady bugs.
"We could bring them down here in the spring of the year, open that cap up and say, fly away little lady bug, do your thing, and hopefully that would work and take care of part of the problem," adds Hyde.
The city is in the process of getting three bids for an application of insecticide from Knoxville. We hope to have more information next week.
Have a weather related story idea? Feel free to email Meteorologist Brittany Beggs.