First detected in the United States near Savannah, Ga., in 2002, the beetle had spread to Hilton Head Island, S.C., by 2004, causing widespread mortality in Redbay trees. Dr. Frank Koch, a research assistant professor at NC State who works with the United States Forest Service to help monitor and track the geographical movement of invasive species like the Redbay Ambrosia beetle, says it currently is continuing its journey south.
The female Ambrosia beetle carries fungal spores on its body, a source of food for adult beetles and their larvae, which then inoculate Redbay trees. The fungus causes laurel wilt, the source of widespread and severe levels of Redbay mortality in the Southeastern coastal plain. When the beetles bore into the sapwood of a host tree, the fungus germinates in the tree tissue and can cause tree death.
"This beetle is very small – roughly two millimeters long – but it kills extremely rapidly," Koch says. "There are thousands of species of Ambrosia beetles, but they usually don't cause damage to this extent. This particular beetle is very serious because the fungus it carries is remarkably lethal."
The worry, Koch says, is that as the beetle continues to spread down the coast, it will begin to affect avocado trees, which belong to the same genus as Redbay trees.
"This beetle is moving very fast, and it may be in the avocado-growing region of Florida within a year or two," Koch says. "The avocado industry is very concentrated – about 7,500 acres southwest of Miami – and an invasion by these beetles could cause major damage to the production of avocados."
Koch is part of a team that hopes to devise a plan in case the Redbay Ambrosia beetle moves to southwest Miami, as they predict. The team is currently monitoring the beetles' path and hopes to catch them – and stop their progress – before they get to avocado trees. The biggest problem for researchers is that it's hard to tell a tree has been infested until it begins dying.
"There are a lot of people very concerned about the potential of this predator attacking avocado trees. And no one knows quite what to do," Koch says. "Some are trying to figure out if they can protect avocado trees with fungicides. Others wonder if it is possible to closely watch the avocado orchards and isolate and remove any infected trees as soon as they begin to show signs of wilting. Researchers are trying to determine the effectiveness of these options in hopes of coming up with a solution to protect avocado groves."
Caroline M. Barnhill | EurekAlert!
Algorithm could streamline harvesting of hand-picked crops
13.03.2018 | University of Illinois College of Engineering
A global conflict: agricultural production vs. biodiversity
06.03.2018 | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...
On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...
The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...
At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.
When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...
At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.
Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...
16.03.2018 | Event News
13.03.2018 | Event News
08.03.2018 | Event News
16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences
16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
16.03.2018 | Life Sciences