Pest categorisation of Sirex nitobei.
The EFSA Panel on Plant Health performed a pest categorisation of Sirex nitobei (Hymenoptera: Siricidae), the nitobe horntail, for the territory of the EU. S. nitobei is not listed in Annex II of Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/2072 but was identified as a potential regulated pest in a commodity risk assessment of Pinus thunbergii artificially dwarfed plants from Japan. This species is present in Japan (except Hokkaidō), the Republic of Korea and 13 Chinese provinces. S. nitobei attacks several Pinus species and has been reported less frequently on Abies firma and Larix spp., including L. leptolepis. The females oviposit into the sapwood. Eggs are deposited together with a phytotoxic mucus and a symbiotic fungus, Amylostereum areolatum or A. chailletii. The combined action of the venom and the fungus results in the death of the host trees. The fungus degrades the lignocellulosic components of the wood, and the larvae feed on the liquid fraction of the digested residues left by the fungus. All immature stages live in the hosts sapwood. The lifecycle of the pest lasts 1 year. S. nitobei can travel with conifer wood, wood packaging material or plants for planting, but these pathways from third countries are closed by prohibition. However, a derogation exists for artificially dwarfed Japanese black pine (Pinus thunbergii) from Japan, which therefore provides a potential pathway. Climatic conditions in several EU member states and host plant availability in those areas are conducive for establishment. The introduction of S. nitobei is potentially damaging for pines. Phytosanitary measures are available to reduce the likelihood of entry and further spread, and there is a potential for biological control. S. nitobei satisfies all the criteria that are within the remit of EFSA to assess for it to be regarded as a potential Union quarantine pest.