March 13, 2009
The dreaded Asian Ambrosia Beetle has made its seasonal appearance. Asian ambrosia beetle damage was found at two Georgia nurseries [names withheld], attacking an October Glory red maple and some other woody plant material.
The Asian Ambrosia beetle is a minute ambrosia beetle of Asian origin that was first detected in the continental United States near Charleston, South Carolina. It apparently has spread along the lower Piedmont region and coastal plain to North Carolina, Louisiana, Florida, and East Texas.
Xylosandrus crassiusculus adult beetles and larva bore into the trunks of trees, excavating a system of tunnels and introduce a fungus on which they feed. The fungus clogs the xylem, killing the plant. Beetle damage can be seen as spines of boring dust, with the appearance of a broken toothpick, protruding from tiny holes. Unlike other ambrosia beetles, which normally attack only stressed or damaged plants, Asian ambrosia beetles can attack reasonably healthy plants.
Preventative insecticidal sprays can reduce infestations.
Thanks to Tim Thoms, of Thoms Trees and Plants, Inc. for the tip.