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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Byron, Georgia » Fruit and Tree Nut Research » Research » Research Project #441188

Research Project: Ecology and Integrated Management of Ambrosia Beetles in Eastern U.S. Orchard and Ornamental Tree Crops

Location: Fruit and Tree Nut Research

Project Number: 6042-22000-024-016-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2021
End Date: Aug 31, 2025

The overall goal is to implement sustainable management practices for ambrosia beetles and understand the insect pest’s biology. Specific objectives are: 1. Predict risk of ambrosia beetle infestations in high value orchard and nursery crop systems through improved understanding of beetle biology and ecology. 2. Develop new tools and technologies to enhance the accuracy and precision of host and beetle monitoring strategies. 3. Development of comprehensive management strategies for ambrosia beetles. 4. Determine the economics of ambrosia beetle damage and control interventions. 5. Outreach and extension.

The research will be conducted on university, USDA and grower cooperator research plots in multiple states. Research will be conducted at the USDA-ARS Southeast Fruit and Tree Nut Research Laboratory, Byron, Georgia, as well as grower orchards in Georgia. The focus for this lab will be on developing alternative control measures for ambrosia beetles. The emphasis will be on investigating microbial control agents including entomopathogenic nematodes and fungi. Activities will include: 1. Virulence screening bioassays in the laboratory or greenhouse to determine the most promising species or strains of entomopathogenic nematodes or fungi. 2. Testing the most promising nematodes and fungi under field conditions to determine biocontrol efficacy. 3. Enhancing microbial control efficacy through improved formulations (such as protective gels) or boosting agents.