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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Wooster, Ohio » Application Technology Research » Research » Research Project #435074

Research Project: Developing New Strategies for Managing Exotic Ambrosia Beetle Pests in Ornamental Nursery Production

Location: Application Technology Research

Project Number: 5082-21000-001-008-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 16, 2018
End Date: Sep 15, 2023

1) Assess the influence of abiotic and biotic stressors on host attractiveness and susceptibility to ambrosia beetles in ornamental nurseries; (2) increase understanding of the patterns and causes of ambrosia beetle attacks within ornamental nurseries; (3) improve ambrosia beetle trapping methods to monitor ambrosia beetle species diversity, abundance, distribution, and seasonal activity; (4) compare the temperature-dependent development of important ambrosia beetles; (5) determine the efficacy of conventional and botanical insecticides and repellents for protecting vulnerable trees from attack by ambrosia beetles; and (6) integrate the above objectives into an ‘attract and kill’ management strategy for protecting high value nursery stock from ambrosia beetles.

(1) Experiments will be conducted to characterize the preference of ambrosia beetle pests targeting physiologically-stressed trees. The influence of flooded and drought conditions, frosts or freezes, and root stress on host attractiveness and susceptibility to injurious ambrosia beetles will be evaluated. (2) Efforts will focus on the patterns and causes of ambrosia beetle attacks within ornamental nurseries and garden centers. Different tree species and production practices along with the distribution of ambrosia beetle-attacked trees within ornamental nurseries will be studied. (3) Optimum trapping methods will be determined for monitoring and intercepting ambrosia beetle flights, including comparing the efficacy of ethanol in attracting ambrosia beetles with commercial lures in several trap arrays, or ethanol-soaked and/or ethanol-infused bolts. New traps, trap densities and positions within nurseries will be evaluated. Trapping will also identify the regional distribution and abundance of ambrosia beetles, which differ between regions of the US. (4) Temperature-dependent development and cold tolerance of the economically important ambrosia beetle species will also be compared to provide important insight into their biology and physiology, and predict future changes in their distribution. (5) The efficacy of conventional and reduced risk insecticides, repellents, and/or ethanol-masking treatments for preventing ambrosia beetle attacks on healthy and physiologically-stressed trees will also be assessed. (6) Results from the aforementioned studies will be used to develop an ‘attract and kill’ management strategy for protecting high value nursery stock from losses due to ambrosia beetles. Results from these studies will be shared with stakeholders through scientific and trade association publications, as well as presentations at meetings and field days.