Effect of chipping on emergence of the redbay ambrosia beetle (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Scolytinae) and recovery of the Laurel Wilt pathogen from infested wood chips.
Significant mortality of redbay trees (Persea borbonia (L.) Spreng.) in the southeastern United States has been caused by Raffaelea lauricola, T.C. Harr., Fraedrich, & Aghayeva (Harrington et al. 2008), a fungal symbiont of the exotic redbay ambrosia beetle, Xyleborus glabratus, Eichhoff (Fraedrich et al. 2008). This pathogen causes laurel wilt, which is an irreversible disease that can kill mature trees within a few weeks in summer. R. lauricola has been shown to be lethal to most native species of Lauraceae and cultivated avocado (Persea americana Mill.) in the southeastern United States. In this study, we examined the survival of X. glabratus and R. lauricola in wood chips made from infested trees by using a standard tree chipper over a 10-wk period. After 2 wk, 14 X. glabratus were recovered from wood chips, whereas 339 X. glabratus emerged from nonchipped bolts. R. lauricola was not found 2 d postchipping from wood chips, indicating that the pathogen is not likely to survive for long inside wood chips. In contrast, R. lauricola persisted in dead, standing redbay trees for 14 mo. With large volumes of wood, the potential for infested logs to be moved between states or across U.S. borders is significant. Results demonstrated that chipping wood from laurel wilt-killed trees can significantly reduce the number of X. glabratus and limit the persistence of R. lauricola, which is important for sanitation strategies aimed at limiting the spread of this disease.