Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New ways to protect avocados from beetles

Date:
October 3, 2012
Source:
United States Department of Agriculture - Research, Education and Economics
Summary:
Scientists are coming up with new strategies to combat a beetle threatening avocado trees in the U.S.

ARS entomologist Paul Kendra is searching for lures that could help trap and control the redbay ambrosia beetle, a serious pest of avocados that spreads laurel wilt disease.
Credit: Stephen Ausmus

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists are coming up with new strategies to combat a beetle threatening the nation's avocado trees.

Laurel wilt disease is caused by the fungus Raffaelea lauricola, and is vectored by the redbay ambrosia beetle, an invasive pest from Asia that has spread to the Carolinas, Florida and west to Mississippi. The disease kills 90-95 percent of infected trees. Scientists are concerned that it will soon reach Mexico and California, which are major avocado production areas. Its victims also include several other types of laurel trees.

Paul Kendra and his colleagues at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Subtropical Horticulture Research Station (SHRS) in Miami, Fla., are working to minimize the threat. They are searching for chemical attractants for beetle traps, treating trees in the ARS avocado collection with fungicides to slow the spread of the disease, and shipping trees from the Miami avocado germplasm collection to disease-free sites.

ARS is USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency, and this research supports the USDA priority of promoting international food security.

Previous research has shown that like other bark beetles, the redbay ambrosia beetle essentially "sniffs out" volatile compounds. In field experiments, the researchers compared the number of redbay ambrosia beetles attracted to manuka oil lures, phoebe oil lures, and bolts of wood cut from lychee and from the three races of avocado trees. The trials were conducted at a Florida conservation area where the beetle has infested trees since 2007.

In laboratory tests, the researchers also conducted "choice" experiments by placing lychee and avocado wood on opposite ends of a plastic bin and placing the beetles in the middle to see which wood they preferred. Compounds released by the two types of wood were analyzed using gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy (GC-MS).

Results published in the Journal of Chemical Ecology showed that the beetles had no strong preference among the three avocado races, and that lychee was the most attractive wood. Of the 29 compounds detected, three were found to attract the beetle and the lychee had large amounts of all three.

Subsequent research, with results published in the Journal of Economic Entomology, also showed that the phoebe oil lures were effective for 10 to 12 weeks, but the manuka lures lasted only about 2 to 3 weeks. Knowing how long the manuka lures work should prove useful to Florida agriculture officials, who use them in monitoring efforts. Officials and growers will also benefit from the researchers' discovery that the beetles prefer freshly cut wood surfaces, a finding that helps growers realize trees are vulnerable to attack during pruning.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by United States Department of Agriculture - Research, Education and Economics. The original article was written by Dennis O'Brien. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

United States Department of Agriculture - Research, Education and Economics. "New ways to protect avocados from beetles." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 October 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121003132330.htm>.
United States Department of Agriculture - Research, Education and Economics. (2012, October 3). New ways to protect avocados from beetles. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121003132330.htm
United States Department of Agriculture - Research, Education and Economics. "New ways to protect avocados from beetles." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121003132330.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Great British Farmland Boom

The Great British Farmland Boom

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 17, 2014) Britain's troubled Co-operative Group is preparing to cash in on nearly 18,000 acres of farmland in one of the biggest UK land sales in decades. As Ivor Bennett reports, the market timing couldn't be better, with farmland prices soaring over 270 percent in the last 10 years. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction

Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) With plenty of honking, flapping, and fluttering, more than three dozen Caribbean flamingos at Zoo Miami were rounded up today as the iconic exhibit was closed for renovations. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 16, 2014) Crocodile farming has been a challenge in Zimbabwe in recent years do the economic collapse and the financial crisis. But as Ciara Sutton reports one of Europe's biggest suppliers of skins to the luxury market has come up with an unusual survival strategy - vegetarian food. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins