X-Ray Round One

Since we received around half of the cone samples that we anticipate for this fall, we have x-rayed the first round of our seeds; all 18638 of them!  From these samples, we have collected many midge larvae and some insects of interest, which we will identify if further examination directs us to pursue identification.  In total, 28 of the 113 trees sampled displayed evidence of some form of parasitisation, either infestation of the cone, insects found with the cones, or possible exit holes on the cones or seeds.  However, none of the x-rays showed that any of the seeds were infested with larvae or nymphs.  Megastigmus emerge in the spring, so their larvae would be visible now and triggers for emergence are not present in fall.  This means that there is likely not an infestation of Megastigmus in any of the seeds we processed.  It is always a challenge to determine how we should feel at this realization, because an invasion would be unfortunate, but a novel scientific discover is always exciting!

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