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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Wooster, Ohio » Application Technology Research » Research » Research Project #441320

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

Location: Application Technology Research

Project Number: 5082-21000-001-057-A
Project Type: Cooperative Agreement

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

Cooperator will conduct research to address the following objectives: 1) Predict the risk of infestations in orchard and nursery crop systems through improved understanding of AB biology and ecology, 2) Develop novel tools to enhance the accuracy and precision of AB infestation and monitoring tactics, 3) Implement comprehensive management strategies, 4) Determine the economics of AB damage and control interventions on orchard and ornamental tree crop stakeholders, and 5) Transfer research-based information to stakeholders.

To address objective 1, flood and drought stress will be imposed on experimental trees. Adults, brood (i.e., eggs, larvae, pupae), and presence of fungal gardens will be quantified to assess colonization success. Objective 1 will also be addressed by characterizing the spatial distribution of attacked trees in nurseries and/or orchards. Research teams will measure the within and between-row distances among all attacked and non-attacked trees. Ambrosia beetle host selection, tree characteristics, and site characteristics will be recorded. To address objective 2, cooperators will evaluate trapping tactics and lure release rates for species-specific monitoring of ambrosia beetles and correlating trap captures with attacks. Different lure types will be tested in orchards and/or nurseries. Objective 2 will also be addressed by developing and comparing existing and portable technologies to monitor tree ethanol production in orchard and nursery crop systems. Effective portable devices will be determined in the first tier of experiments, followed by the second tier of experiments to evaluate devices on a larger scale in nurseries and orchards for detecting vulnerable trees. Objective 3 will be addressed by testing conventional and alternative insecticides under field conditions. Cooperators will conduct rapid screening in two tiers to identify novel and previously untested products with efficacy comparable to permethrin and bifenthrin (currently the most effective insecticides). Attacks on each bolt will be counted for 21 d after deployment. Afterwards, bolts will be returned to participating labs for temporary storage until being dissected to identify and quantify beetle, brood, and the presence/absence of fungal gardens. Objective 3 will also be addressed by testing repellents and integrating them with attractants as part of a push-pull strategy. Objective 3 will also be addressed by testing plant defense elicitors for inhibiting ambrosia beetle attacks and/or colonization using potted species/cultivars of apple, pecan, and dogwood under flood stress regimes. Objective 4 will be addressed to determine the economics of ambrosia beetle damage and control interventions by economic analyses that incorporates producer perceived barriers to adoption, adoption costs, and potential demand. We will determine production costs for the three crops, willingness to adopt (WTA) and barriers to adoption of tactics, calculate consumer willingness to pay (WTP) for crops under different AB management options, and given this price and cost information, calculate adoption rates and return on investment for different treatment tactics. To transfer research-based information to stakeholders for objective 5, cooperators will conduct traditional in-person meetings, web-based approaches (blogs,YouTube, social media), and outreach publications.