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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Developing and Integrating Novel Strategies for Managing Exotic Ambrosia Beetles in Ornamental Nurseries

Location: Application Technology Research Unit

Project Number: 3607-22000-012-11
Project Type: Specific Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 16, 2013
End Date: Sep 15, 2018

Objective:
(1) Assess the influence of abiotic (i.e. flood-stress, drought-stress, frost injury, etc.) and biotic (i.e. Phytophthora infection and root herbivory) stressors on host attractiveness and susceptibility to ambrosia beetles; (2) understand the patterns and causes of ambrosia beetle attacks within ornamental nurseries; (3) characterize ambrosia beetle trapping methods, abundance, diversity, distribution, and seasonal activity; (4) compare the temperature-dependent development and cold tolerance of X. germanus and X. crassiusculus; (5) determine the efficacy of conventional and botanical insecticides and repellents for protecting vulnerable trees from attack by ambrosia beetles; and (6) pursue a ‘push-pull’ management strategy for protecting vulnerable nursery stock from ambrosia beetles.

Approach:
Non-native ambrosia beetles are significant pests of field-grown nursery crops. In particular, X. crassiusculus has become a key pest in the mid-Atlantic, southeastern, southern, and mid-western US. Studies aimed at improving our understanding of ambrosia beetle biology, behavior, and monitoring are necessary to develop sustainable management strategies. Experiments will be conducted to characterize the preference of X. crassiusculus for physiologically-stressed trees. In particular, the influence of flood-stress, drought-stress, frost injury, and root infection by Phytophthora species on host attractiveness and susceptibility to X. crassiusculus will be determined. Efforts will also focus on understanding the patterns and causes of ambrosia beetle attacks within ornamental nurseries. In particular, host traits and the distribution of ambrosia beetle attacked trees within ornamental nurseries and potential association with abiotic or biotic stressors will be characterized. Optimum trapping methods will also be determined for monitoring ambrosia beetle flight activity, including comparing the efficacy of laboratory grade ethanol vs. denatured ethanol in attracting ambrosia beetles to ethanol-soaked and/or ethanol-infused bolts. Trapping efforts will also be used to identify the regional distribution in abundance of X. crassiusculus in relation to Xylosandrus germanus, which is more abundant and problematic in Ohio nurseries. The temperature-dependent development and cold tolerance of X. germanus and X. crassiusculus will also be compared under field and laboratory conditions. Understanding their temperature-dependent development and cold tolerance will provide important insight into their biology and physiology, and potentially predict future changes in their distribution. The efficacy of conventional insecticides, botanically-based insecticides, repellents, and/or ethanol-masking treatments for preventing ambrosia beetle attacks on healthy and physiologically-stressed trees will also be assessed. Results from the aforementioned studies involving repellents and attractants will then be used to develop a ‘push-pull’ management strategy for protecting vulnerable nursery stock from ambrosia beetles.

Last Modified: 4/19/2014
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