Skip to main content
ARS Home » Southeast Area » Miami, Florida » Subtropical Horticulture Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #335798

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

Location: Subtropical Horticulture Research

Title: Ambrosia beetles associated with laurel wilt of avocado

item CARRILLO, DANIEL - University Of Florida
item PLOETZ, RANDY - University Of Florida
item CRANE, JONATHAN - University Of Florida
item CAVE, RONALD - University Of Florida
item Kendra, Paul

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/3/2016
Publication Date: 11/3/2016
Citation: Carrillo, D., Ploetz, R., Crane, J.H., Cave, R.R., Kendra, P.E. 2016. Ambrosia beetles associated with laurel wilt of avocado. UF/IFAS Avocado Laurel Wilt Summit. Homestead, FL 3-4 Nov 2016.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Redbay ambrosia beetle, Xyleborus glabratus, is an exotic wood-boring pest first detected in 2002 near Savannah, Georgia. The beetle’s dominant fungal symbiont, Raffaelea lauricola, is the pathogen that causes laurel wilt, a lethal disease of trees in the family Lauraceae. Laurel wilt has since spread north to the Carolinas, south to Florida, and west to Texas, resulting in high mortality of native Persea species, including redbay (P. borbonia), swampbay (P. palustris), and silkbay (P. humilis). By 2012, laurel wilt had reached southernmost Florida, and began to threaten commercial avocado (P. americana). However, in contrast to the situation in forest ecosystems, X. glabratus has been detected at very low levels in affected avocado groves. There is evidence that avocado is a poor reproductive host for X. glabratus, and that other species of ambrosia beetle may acquire R. lauricola and potentially function as secondary vectors. This presentation summarizes research over the past few years to document the species of ambrosia beetle that breed in avocado trees, to identify the ones which are able to incorporate R. lauricola into their mycangia, and to evaluate control methods effective for a broad range of ambrosia beetle species. Fourteen species of bark and ambrosia beetle were found to breed successfully in avocado trees with laurel wilt. Of those, 9 species tested positive for R. lauricola, with highest recovery of the pathogen from Xyleborus bispinatus and X. volvulus. Of the insecticides evaluated, Danitol 2.4 EC®, malathion 5 EC®, and Hero® provided the best efficacy. Of the entomopathogens tested, Beauveria bassiana showed the most promise.