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Individual Highlight

New Insights Into Trapping the Redbay Ambrosia Beetle

Photo of A grid of funnel traps used to evaluate the effect of close trap spacing on captures of the redbay ambrosia beetle. Albert E. Mayfield III, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.A grid of funnel traps used to evaluate the effect of close trap spacing on captures of the redbay ambrosia beetle. Albert E. Mayfield III, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.Snapshot : The redbay ambrosia beetle carries the pathogen that causes laurel wilt, a disease which has killed millions of redbay and sassafras trees in the southeastern U.S. A recent study by Forest Service scientists provides new insights into how the invasive pests responds to traps that are baited with lures that smell like a host tree.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Mayfield, Albert (Bud) E., III 
Research Station : Southern Research Station (SRS)
Year : 2016
Highlight ID : 1190

Summary

The redbay ambrosia beetle carries the pathogen that causes laurel wilt, a disease which has killed millions of redbay and sassafras trees in the southeastern United States. A recent study by Forest Service scientists provides new insights into how the invasive pests responds to traps that are baited with lures that smell like a host tree. Attempts to trap low beetle populations failed to reduce subsequent attacks on fresh redbay wood placed into the stand. Subsequent studies found that to be most effective, traps should be spaced less than 3 feet apart. To manage this insect with traps, newer, more attractive lures will be needed. Although redbay is not generally considered economically important, it is so abundant that its loss could have economic impacts, such as the cost of tree removal, lowered property values, and increased costs to state and local governments as they educate the public about laurel wilt and monitor its spread. Redbay logs can be infested with the fungus carrying beetles, so one of the most important control strategies is to not move firewood or unprocessed wood products. Ideally, firewood is burned within 10 miles of where it is harvested, and some areas such as Miami-Dade County in Florida, have banned all imported firewood unless certified. Moving wood has led to documented expansions of the disease in Florida, and may have initiated outbreaks in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

 
  • Laurie Reid, city of Charlotte, N.C.

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