Navigation Links
Holy guacamole: invasive beetle threatens Florida's avocados
Date:2/4/2009

A researcher at North Carolina State University is tracking the movement of the Redbay Ambrosia beetle, an invasive insect that, if it spreads to southeast Florida, may severely affect the production of avocados, a $15 million to $30 million industry in the state.

First detected in the United States near Savannah, Ga., in 2002, the beetle had spread to Hilton Head Island, S.C., by 2004, causing widespread mortality in Redbay trees. Dr. Frank Koch, a research assistant professor at NC State who works with the United States Forest Service to help monitor and track the geographical movement of invasive species like the Redbay Ambrosia beetle, says it currently is continuing its journey south.

The female Ambrosia beetle carries fungal spores on its body, a source of food for adult beetles and their larvae, which then inoculate Redbay trees. The fungus causes laurel wilt, the cause of widespread and severe levels of Redbay mortality in the Southeastern coastal plain. When the beetles bore into the sapwood of a host tree, the fungus germinates in the tree tissue and can cause tree death.

"This beetle is very small roughly two millimeters long but it kills extremely rapidly," Koch says. "There are thousands of species of Ambrosia beetles, but they usually don't cause damage to this extent. This particular beetle is very serious because the fungus it carries is remarkably lethal."

The worry, Koch says, is that as the beetle continues to spread down the coast, it will begin to affect avocado trees, which belong to the same genus as Redbay trees.

"This beetle is moving very fast, and it may be in the avocado-growing region of Florida within a year or two," Koch says. "The avocado industry is very concentrated about 7,500 acres southwest of Miami and an invasion by these beetles could cause major damage to the production of avocados."

Koch is part of a team that hopes to devise a plan in case the Redbay Ambrosia Beetle moves to southwest Miami, as they predict. The team is currently monitoring the beetles' path and hopes to catch them and stop their progress before they get to avocado trees. The biggest problem for researchers is that it's hard to tell a tree has been infested until it begins dying.

"There are a lot of people very concerned about the potential of this predator attacking avocado trees. And no one knows quite what to do," Koch says. "Some are trying to figure out if they can protect avocado trees with fungicides. Others wonder if it is possible to closely watch the avocado orchards and isolate and remove any infected trees as soon as they begin to show signs of wilting. Researchers are trying to determine the effectiveness of these options in hopes of coming up with a solution to protect avocado groves."


'/>"/>

Contact: Caroline M. Barnhill
caroline_barnhill@ncsu.edu
919-515-6251
North Carolina State University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Climate changes impact on invasive plants in Western US may create restoration opportunities
2. Invasive plants challenge scientists in face of environmental change
3. Climate change opens new avenue for spread of invasive plants
4. Marine invasive species advance 50 km per decade, World Conference on Marine Biodiversity told
5. Marine invasive species advance 50km per decade, World Conference on Marine Biodiversity told
6. Frost & Sullivan Recognizes AOptix Technologies for its Pioneering Contribution to Security through Noninvasive Biometrics
7. Biocontrol insect exacerbates invasive weed
8. Carnegie Mellon MRI technology that non-invasively locates, quantifies specific cells in the body
9. Tiny invasive snail impacts Great Lakes, alters ecology
10. Montana State researchers release guide to noninvasive carnivore research
11. Threatened or invasive? Species fates identified
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/7/2016)... June 7, 2016  Syngrafii Inc. and San ... relationship that includes integrating Syngrafii,s patented LongPen™ eSignature ... This collaboration will result in greater convenience for ... union, while maintaining existing document workflow and compliance ... ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... -- The Department of Transport Management (DOTM) of ... US Dollar project, for the , Supply and ... and IT Infrastructure , to Decatur ... of Identity Management Solutions. Numerous renowned international vendors participated in ... was selected for the most compliant and innovative solution. ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... Perimeter Surveillance & Detection Systems, Biometrics & ... & Other Service  The latest report from ... of the global Border Security market . Visiongain ... billion in 2016. Now: In November 2015 ... and hardware technologies for advanced video surveillance. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/22/2016)...   StockNewsNow.com , The Official MicroCap News Source™, ... Nader Pourhassan , President & CEO of CytoDyn Inc. ... development and potential commercialization of humanized monoclonal antibodies for ... the company,s website (see here: www.CytoDyn.com ). The ... , 2016, at the LD Micro Invitational in ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... DIEGO , June 22, 2016   ViaCyte, ... first pluripotent stem cell-derived islet replacement therapy for the ... presentations at ISSCR 2016 Annual Meeting.  ISSCR 2016, the ... to 25th at Moscone West in San Francisco.  ... of the presentations are as follows:Event: , Focus Session: ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... ... June 22, 2016 , ... ... spotlight on immigrant achievements and contributions to North Texas and the nation, recently ... from the immigrant community to the civic and economic vitality of North Texas. ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... and ALBANY, N.Y. , June ... and Albany Molecular Research, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... Teewinot,s technology to produce and sell the first ... CBCA analytical standard is manufactured using Teewinot,s patented ... of cannabinoid biosynthetic genes in microorganisms for efficient ...
Breaking Biology Technology: