Exotic ambrosia beetles, particularly Xylosandrus crassiusculus (Motschulsky) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Scolytinae) and Xylosandrus germanus (Blandford) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Scolytinae), are among the most damaging pests of ornamental trees in nurseries. Growers have had few tactics besides insecticide applications to reduce ambrosia beetle attacks but recent research has shown that attacks may be reduced by maintaining media moisture below a 50% threshold thereby reducing flood stress. We compared the efficacy of managing media moisture and insecticide applications for reducing ambrosia beetle attacks on three ornamental tree species in North Carolina. During trials in spring 2013 and 2015, flooded Cornus florida and Cornus kousa were heavily attacked despite sprays with permethrin, but nonflooded C. kousa or C. florida were not attacked. In spring 2015 trials, both nonflooded and flooded Styrax japonicus were heavily attacked regardless of permethrin applications. Although ethanol emissions were not measured, the apparently healthy nonflooded S. japonicus trees may have been exposed to an unknown physiological stress, such as low temperature injury, the previous winter, which predisposed them to beetle attack. However, ethanol levels within host tissues were not measured as part of the current study. X. crassiusculus (75%), Xyloborinus saxesenii Ratzburg (13%), and X. germanus (9%) were the most abundant species collected in ethanol baited traps deployed in 2015, while X. crassiusculus (63%) and X. germanus (36%) were the predominant species reared from attacked trees. Results indicate that managing media moisture levels at or below 50%, and maximizing tree health overall, may provide significant protection against Xylosandrus spp. attacks in flood intolerant tree species.
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Vol. 46 • No. 6