Location: Tropical Pest Genetics and Molecular Biology Research Unit
Project Number: 2040-22430-028-011-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement
Start Date: Aug 1, 2021
End Date: Jul 31, 2023
The primary purpose of this project is to develop methods and protocols for detection and control of Queensland Longhorn Beetle (QLB), Acalolepta aesthetica (Olliff), (Insecta: Coleoptera: Cerambycidae), a destructive pest of a broad taxonomic range of trees which has recently become established on Hawaii Island. A closely related species, the Asian longhorned beetle, Anoplophora glabripennis (ALB) has caused the destruction of thousands of trees in New York, Illinois, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Ohio. Eradication efforts for ALB to date have cost several hundred million dollars. Estimates of potential economic damage by ALB, if left unchecked, run into billions of US dollars for urban trees. With the increasing global trade and movement of plant materials, there is an imminent risk of QLB becoming established within the important citrus and hardwood growing regions of the mainland USA where QLB it could become a serious agricultural problem.
To expand upon the volume of biological and genomic resources available for this species, biological studies and genomic interrogation will be conducted to investigate the susceptibility of QLB to chemical, biological, and genetic control. Systemic pesticides such as imidacloprid is currently being used to manage both ALB and the citrus longhorned beetle (CLB), A. chinensis. Biological control in the form of the entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana has been demonstrated in the pine sawyer beetle Monochamus saltuarius. Synergistic effects of chemical control coupled with biological control has been demonstrated in ALB. Lastly, genetic control via RNA-interference (RNAi) has been demonstrated also in ALB under laboratory conditions. To contribute to and make the most use of this knowledge, we to test the efficacy of contact pesticides, entomopathogenic fungus, and RNAi on QLB.