A University of Florida Extension entomologist believes that ambrosia beetles may be a new pest for Florida citrus growers.

Florida citrus growers have had a lot on their plate since citrus greening was detected in 2005, and they may be getting a new citrus pest to deal with on top of citrus greening damage and hurricane woes. According to University of Florida Extension entomologist Lauren Diepenbrock, there may be ambrosia beetles affecting citrus trees in Polk County, and possibly the rest of Florida. See the details per a Citrus Industry article below.

New Citrus Pest: Ambrosia Beetle

According to Diepenbrock, ambrosia beetles may become a citrus pest as they are attracted to trees that are in stress. “So it’s not surprising it would find something like a citrus tree that’s infected with HLB already. The beetles burrow into the trees, lay their eggs, cultivate their fungus and complete their development within the tree,” she shared. “…And these beetles might actually be the final factor in taking down what otherwise would have been a productive HLB-infected tree.”

Damage to citrus trees have been detected in parts of Polk County that Diepenbrock believes to be ambrosia beetles, in the form of holes thought to be made by egg-laying adults. “It’s very possible that it’s located throughout the state, as ambrosia beetles attack a wide variety of hosts,” she said. According to the article, positive identification can be made when the adults emerge in Diepenbrock’s lab.

Treatment recommendations for citrus trees infected with ambrosia beetles is to remove and destroy infected trees. Diepenbrock advised that “if you need help knowing if you have infected trees, please call your local Extension agent for assistance.”

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