Distribution, habitat preference, and management of the invasive ambrosia beetle Xylosandrus germanus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae, Scolytinae) in European forests with an emphasis on the West Carpathians.
The black timber bark beetle Xylosandrus germanus (Blandford) is an invasive ambrosia beetle that originates from Southeast Asia and has become successfully established within Europe and North America. Herein, we provide a review of the spread and distribution of this tree and timber pest species across Europe, before and after 2000, along with a review of its habitat preferences. Since the spread of X. germanus across Europe has accelerated rapidly post-2000, emphasis is placed on this period. X. germanus was first recorded in Germany in 1951 and since then in 21 other European countries along with Russia. Ethanol-baited traps were deployed in oak, beech, and spruce forest ecosystems in the Western Carpathians, Central Europe, Slovakia, to characterize the distribution and habitat preferences of this non-native ambrosia beetle. Captures of X. germanus within Slovakia have been rising rapidly since its first record in 2010, and now this species dominates captures of ambrosia beetles. X. germanus has spread throughout Slovakia from south-southwest to north-northeast over a period of 5-10 years, and has also spread vertically into higher altitudes within the country. While living but weakened trees in Europe and North America are attacked by X. germanus, the greatest negative impact within Slovakia is attacks on recently felled logs of oak, beech and spruce trees, which provide high quality timber/lumber. We suggest that the recent rapid spread of X. germanus in Central Europe is being facilitated by environmental changes, specifically global warming, and the increasing frequency of timber trade. Recommendations for the management of X. germanus in forest ecosystems are proposed and discussed, including early detection, monitoring, sanitary measures, etc.