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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Wooster, Ohio » Application Technology Research » Research » Research Project #442423

Research Project: Developing Management Strategies for Ambrosia Beetle and Red-headed Flea Beetle, as Key Pests in Ornamental Nursery Production

Location: Application Technology Research

Project Number: 5082-21000-001-080-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 16, 2023
End Date: Sep 15, 2026

1) Develop red-headed flea beetle and ambrosia beetle trapping methods to monitor species diversity, abundance, distribution, and/or seasonal activity; 2) Compare the efficacy of conventional and alternative insecticides for reducing infestations of ambrosia beetles and red-headed flea beetles; and 3) Assess an attract-and-kill tactic for managing ambrosia beetles.

Objective 1: To develop red-headed flea beetle monitoring, a vacuum will be employed to collect adults from affected crops in two commercial nurseries. In addition, visual scouting for Red-headed flea beetles (RHFB) larvae inside pots will be also performed. Ambrosia beetle adults will be collected using 2-L soda bottle traps, baited with ethanol lures and marine antifreeze, in eight locations across Virginia. Wood bolts will be paired with these bottle traps at four locations to document ‘attack holes’ as damage caused by Ambrosia Beetles (ABs). Adult densities (for both AB and RHFB), attack counts (only AB) and larva counts (only RHFB) will be collected weekly from February to November. Adult identification and counts for AB will be performed in the laboratory. Counts for RHFB will be conducted at each participating nursery. Both AB and RHFB data will be communicated to nursery growers. Specimens identified as ‘Others’ during our collections from Obj. 1 will be sent to the cooperator, or to ARS to complete identification at species level. Voucher specimens will be housed in Virginia, and will be used to complete the identification of captured AB adults. Records of presence and timing during the season for these new AB species will be shared with relevant parties, including the USDA and the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Objective 2: To assess insecticide efficacy, different active ingredients from several Insecticide Resistance Action Committee (IRAC) groups will be tested to manage AB and/or RHFB. Wood bolts will be treated with selected insecticides to reduce the number of ‘attack holes’. Alternative insecticides will be applied as drench or top dressing, targeting to control RHFB larvae in the pots. Performance on controlling these two pests will be documented at least twice during the growing season. Objective 3. To assess an attract-and-kill tactic for managing ambrosia beetles, we will use a proprietary commercial formulation infused with ethanol, which is a strong attractant for ABs. The rationale behind this research is to use the porous matrix of the repellent to consistently release ethanol on permethrin treated potted trees. The experimental design will consist of two groups of red bud trees: 1) nine untreated trees, surrounding one permethrin-treated + repellent + ethanol tree, and 2) nine untreated trees surrounding one permethrin-treated + flooded tree as the control group. These two groups will be replicated at least four times during the growing season. Number of attacks on untreated trees will be used as a proxy to measure the performance of the repellent treatment.