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Beetle-fungus disease threatens crops and landscape trees in Southern California
Date:5/8/2012

eetle and fungus on a backyard avocado tree showing dieback symptoms in South Gate, Los Angeles County. The Agricultural Commissioner of Los Angeles County and the California Food and Drug Administration have confirmed the identity of the beetle.

"This is the very same fungus that caused avocado dieback in Israel," Eskalen said. "The California Avocado Commission is concerned about the economic damage this fungus can do to the industry here in California.

"For now, we are asking gardeners to keep an eye on their trees and report to us any sign of the fungus or beetle," he added. "Symptoms in avocado include the appearance of white powdery exudate in association with a single beetle exit hole on the bark of the trunk and main branches of the tree. This exudate could be dry or it can appear as a wet discoloration."

A team of UCR scientists has been formed to study Fusarium dieback in Southern California. Eskalen and Alex Gonzalez, a field specialist, are already conducting a survey to determine the extent of the beetle infestation and the likely extent of the fungus infection in avocado trees and other host plants. Richard Stouthamer, a professor of entomology, and Paul Rugman-Jones, an associate specialist in entomology, are studying the biology and genetics of the beetle.


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Contact: Iqbal Pittalwala
iqbal@ucr.edu
951-827-6050
University of California - Riverside
Source:Eurekalert  

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