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Research Project: Methyl Bromide Replacement: Mitigation of the Invasive Pest Threat from the American Tropics and Subtropics

Location: Subtropical Horticulture Research

Title: Avocado pests in Florida: Not what you expected

Author
item Menocal, Octavio - University Of Florida
item Duncan, Rita - University Of Florida
item Crane, Jonathan - University Of Florida
item Ploetz, Randy - University Of Florida
item Kendra, Paul
item Carrillo, Daniel - University Of Florida

Submitted to: International Congress of Entomology
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/1/2016
Publication Date: 9/25/2016
Citation: Menocal, O., Duncan, R.E., Crane, J.H., Ploetz, R.C., Kendra, P.E., Carrillo, D. 2016. Avocado pests in Florida: Not what you expected. XXV International Congress of Entomology (ICE 2016), Orlando, FL. Sept. 25-30, 2016.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Avocado, Persea americana Mill., is Florida's second most important fruit crop after citrus. Until recently, the complex of spider mite and insect pests that affected avocado in south Florida was under a 20 year Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program. The recent invasion of avocado orchards by an exotic ambrosia beetle-fungus pest complex represents a significant challenge to maintaining sustainable management practices and the adoption of IPM. The exotic redbay ambrosia beete (RAB), Xyleborus glabratus (Coleoptera: Scolytinae), vectors the fungal pathogen, Raffaelea lauricola, which causes laurel wilt (LW), a lethal disease of trees in the family Lauraceae. Although the primary vector of R. lauricola in natural areas is RAB, it is rarely seen associated with LW-affected avocado trees. Recently, R. lauricola has been found in or on other ambrosia beetles present in south Florida avocado orchards. The life cycle and reproductive potential of RAB and alternative vectors on avocado and other Lauraceous hosts are presented, as well as the flight behavior of ambrosia beetles associated with the laurel wilt epidemic in avocado. Current recommendations to manage disease vectors and the prospects of reestablishing IPM in south Florida's avocados are discussed.