Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Holy Guacamole: NC State Researcher Tracks Invasive Beetle Threatening Florida's Avocados

05.02.2009
A researcher at North Carolina State University is tracking the movement of the Redbay Ambrosia beetle, an invasive insect that, if it spreads to southeast Florida, may severely affect the production of avocados, a $15 million to $30 million industry in the state.

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!
Further information:
http://www.ncsu.edu

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Alkaline soil, sensible sensor
03.08.2017 | American Society of Agronomy

nachricht New 3-D model predicts best planting practices for farmers
26.06.2017 | Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Nagoya physicists resolve long-standing mystery of structure-less transition

21.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

Chronic stress induces fatal organ dysfunctions via a new neural circuit

21.08.2017 | Health and Medicine

Scientists from the MSU studied new liquid-crystalline photochrom

21.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>