Ryles Richards brought in a sample of a very tiny, mostly pelleted material from a home in Groveland. A small pile of this material has been accumulating slowly at one spot in the house, next to a baseboard. The pellets are extremely small. In the photos that have a ruler, for size estimation, that is the millimeter scale, so the pellets are approximately 1/10 of a millimeter wide.
Examination of the material shows that some have a hair-like structure sticking out of them. We have included a number of pictures of the round pellets that have a hair-like structure.
There is an occasional, more typical-looking, probable fecal pellet.
I presume this is frass from some kind of beetle living in that one spot. But what?
John Duarte brought in this specimen of a twig and leaves of a (presumed) ficus. The homeowners were thinking that the spots on the stem were a scale insect. I don’t think so. In looking at it, and thinking it over, I wondered if the spots were just a natural part of the plant. If so, then what advantage would these darkish bumps provide the tree? And examination revealed that some spots had cracked open, or had a rotted out center, suggesting this may not be the case.
The photos show the leaves, which look fine, and there is along sequence of pictures, starting at a leaf and working down to older stem wood. The fresh growth has no bumps, and when the first bumps appear, they are small. Only further down the stem do the bumps turn dark and show evidence of decay.
I wonder, then, if these dark bumps are a fungal or bacterial infection. Other than their presence, the plant looks perfectly fine. It reminds me of the Eutypella bumps on buckeye.
Ryles Richards brought in a sample, 2 September 2021, of tiny, dark subterranean termites, from Groveland.
We’re told that this species may be undescribed. We are reaching out, again, for assistance with the ID. These termites would likely require chemical analysis for better ID. We have only collected them from Groveland and Tuolumne City.
The specimens were from inside the house, in the bathroom, near the toilet and the bathtub.
It’s possible that these are not actually subterranean termites. At the Tuolumne City collection site, the customer thought they were coming from a ceiling beam. More to come, I hope.
Links to previous posts on this species: