New pest to worry about
A tiny hitchhiker newly- discovered in South Carolina could portend trouble for homeowners who relish the sweet smell of eucalyptus trees. A Clemson Extension Agent in Lexington County has identified the first eucalyptus leaf beetle discovered in South Carolina. “A homeowner brought it into the Lexington Extension Office from West Columbia,” said Vicky Bertagnolli. Once she had identified the invasive pest, Bertagnolli sent photos to the U-S Department of Agriculture and entomologists at Texas A-and-M and Auburn University, for independent confirmation. She said the bugs likely hitched a ride on a shipment of eucalyptus from the other side of the continent. They can cause extensive damage to eucalyptus leaves, potentially endangering the plant.