Euwallacea perbrevis (tea shot-hole borer)
- Summary of Invasiveness
- Taxonomic Tree
- Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
- Distribution Table
- History of Introduction and Spread
- Risk of Introduction
- Hosts/Species Affected
- Host Plants and Other Plants Affected
- Growth Stages
- List of Symptoms/Signs
- Biology and Ecology
- Natural enemies
- Notes on Natural Enemies
- Means of Movement and Dispersal
- Plant Trade
- Wood Packaging
- Impact Summary
- Prevention and Control
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Euwallacea perbrevis (Schedl 1951)
Preferred Common Name
- tea shot-hole borer
Other Scientific Names
- Xyleborus perbrevis Schedl, 1951
International Common Names
- English: shot-hole borer of tea
- French: scolyte du Ceylon theier
Local Common Names
- Germany: teezweig-bohrer
Summary of InvasivenessTop of page
Species in Euwallacea and related genera are currently considered quarantine pests. Members of the tribe Xyleborini (which includes the genus Euwallacea) are some of the most successful invaders, as they are commonly intercepted at ports of entry, and because of biological and ecological characteristics, they also get easily established compared to other wood borers (Brockerhoff and Liebhold, 2017). Species within this tribe are all inbreeding, with an haplodiploid system, where diploid females mate with haploid brothers within the parental gallery system before dispersal. Because they have a small size and travel within wood, the introduction of only one or a few mated females may lead to establishment if suitable host plants can be found and environmental conditions are satisfactory. A very wide range of host plants have been recorded for many of the species of Euwallacea and related genera. Any woody material of a suitable size and moisture content may be all that is required. The direct risk of establishment of populations of E. perbrevis in areas of the world outside its present distribution, and particularly in further tropical and subtropical parts of Africa and the Americas, should be considered as a serious threat to natural and planted ecosystems.
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Metazoa
- Phylum: Arthropoda
- Subphylum: Uniramia
- Class: Insecta
- Order: Coleoptera
- Family: Curculionidae
- Subfamily: Scolytinae
- Genus: Euwallacea
- Species: Euwallacea perbrevis
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page
Euwallacea perbrevis was described by Schedl in 1951 as Xyleborus perbrevis. The genus Euwallacea was described by Hopkins in 1915 and was considered a synonym of Xyleborus until Wood (1980a, 1986) recognized Euwallacea as a distinct genus, on the basis of slight morphological and biological differences. Wood (1989) transferred X. fornicatus to the genus Euwallacea. Earlier references to the species are listed by Wood and Bright (1992), and additional references by Bright and Skidmore (1997, 2002).
The emerging pest species complex Euwallacea fornicatus Eichhoff sensu lato has recently undergone a taxonomic revision (Gomez et al., 2018; Smith et al., 2019). Several specimens in the native and introduced range fitting the species description were found to be genetically different, with three recognized clades named as tea shot-hole borer (TSHB), polyphagous shot hole borer (PSHB) and kuroshio shot hole borer (KSHB) (Stouthamer et al., 2017). Because the type specimen used by Eichhoff to describe X. fornicatus was lost during World War II, there was a taxonomic confusion regarding the different clades within the species complex. More recently, a taxonomic revision of the species complex using molecular and morphological data revealed four species (Gomez et al., 2018), resurrecting synonymized species and describing a new species: E. fornicatus (Eichhoff 1868) (part of the TSHB clade), E. fornicatior (Eggers 1923) (part of the TSHB clade), E. whitfordiodendrus (Schedl 1942) (PSHB clade) and E. kuroshio Gomez and Hulcr 2018 (KSHB clade). Soon after, a member of the syntype series of E. fornicatus was discovered, which did not match the specimens used to represent the species. To resolve this, the name Euwallacea fornicatus was applied to PSHB and the TSHB was represented by E. perbrevis (Smith et al., 2019).
‘Euwallacea fornicatus’ in Sri Lanka was first referred to as the ‘tea shot hole borer’ by Speyer (1917) and was extensively used in the literature in publications regarding biology and control. Following Smith et al. (2019) reassessment of the species complex, and given the size of the species referred in the literature as the tea shot-hole borer collected from tea, it is most likely that E. perbrevis, not E. fornicatus is the tea shot-hole borer.
DescriptionTop of page
The published descriptions of various life stages summarized below were all made before the species was recognized as a species complex, so the specific identity within the species complex for these descriptions are generally unknown. No morphological variation between the species within the complex is known.
The eggs of E. perbrevis have not been described. However, the eggs of the related genus Xyleborus are very small (0.3 mm long), round and partly translucent, with a smooth surface. They are laid singly or in groups. Freshly laid eggs are pale, but they gradually darken before eclosion, hatching in 4 to 6 days.
The larva of E. perbrevis is described by Gardner (1934). The mature larva is about 3.5 mm long and 1.1 mm wide. Larvae are white, legless, C-shaped, with a reddish head, taking 16-18 days to pupate. The head is colourless, about 0.5 mm wide, with the anterior margin nearly straight. The anterior margin of the labrum is nearly straight in the middle, while the posterior margin has a strong median extension. The anterior margin of the epipharynx has a very distinct and regular row of large blade-shaped setae; the internal rods are slightly incurved and the two pairs of setae between the rods are very small and close together, with the anterior pair much more widely separated than the posterior pair. The apical segment of the maxillary palps is stout and distinctly longer than wide. The labial palps are widely separated, with a globular apical segment. Each abdominal segment has two folds on the dorsal surface. The body integument is smooth except for a few scattered minute spicules.
Pupae are a similar size to adults and are white. Pupae eclose after 7-9 days.
Adults females are dark brown to almost black, with a body length of 2.2-2.6 mm. This species has an elytral length of 1.45-1.57 mm (measured from base to apex in lateral view) and a pronotum length of 1.05-1.11 mm (measured from base to apex in lateral view) (Gomez et al., 2018). The pronotum is as long as wide, subcircular anteriorly with serrations. The antennal funicle is five-segmented, and the club has the second and third segment visible from the posterior face, matching a type 3 club (Hulcr et al., 2007). The protibia has 7 to 10 socketed denticles on the edge. The elytral declivity is convex and gradually sloped. Punctures in elytral striae and interstriae are in rows, not impressed and large in striae, and with large hair-like setae in interstriae. The posterolateral margin of the elytral declivity has a sharp edge or costa. The males are wingless and smaller than the females, 1.50-1.67 mm long (Kalshoven, 1958). A gallery would have only one or a few males to many females, and they are rarely found outside the gallery.
DistributionTop of page
The Euwallacea species complex has been reported from many regions, and many of these are as ‘Euwallacea fornicatus’. The list is based on morphologically or genetically confirmed examples of Euwallacea perbrevis sensu Smith et al. (2019).
E. perbrevis is considered to be native to South-East Asia through to Australia, being recorded from Australia, American Samoa, Brunei Darussalam, China (Hainan), Fiji, India, Indonesia (Java), Japan (Okinawa), Malaysia (Java, Sabah), Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Réunion, Singapore, Samoa, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Timor Leste and Vietnam (Stouthamer et al., 2017; Gomez et al., 2018; Smith et al., 2019). It has been introduced in USA (Hawaii and Florida), Costa Rica and Panama (reported as E. fornicatus) (Kirkendall and Odegaard, 2007).There are unpublished records from Brunei Darussalam and New Caledonia (RA Beaver, Chiangmai, Thailand, personal communication, 2004). Kalshoven (1981) included Sierra Leone in the distribution of E. perbrevis; however, this is believed to be erroneous. The species has not yet been reliably recorded from the African mainland.
The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available for E. perbrevis. As the E. fornicatus species complex was recently addressed, additional records found in the literature might correspond to other species within the complex.
Distribution TableTop of page
The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.Last updated: 07 Jan 2021
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Reference||Notes|
|Costa Rica||Present, Localized|
|United States||Present, Localized|
|Papua New Guinea||Present||Introduced||Invasive|
History of Introduction and SpreadTop of page
E. perbrevis is presumed to be accidentally introduced to New Guinea, Australia and Pacific Islands, and tropical Americas. Many of these records are part of the first thorough treatment of bark and ambrosia beetles in the area, so exact timings of introductions are not known. The first records in Hawaii were in the 1950s, and the first records in Florida were in the early 2000s (Schedl, 1959; Eskalen et al., 2012). The pathways of introduction are not known, but are probably distributed with live plants or untreated wood material.
Risk of IntroductionTop of page
Several other species of Euwallacea with similar habits to E. perbrevis have been imported to tropical and subtropical areas around the world. The risk of introduction outside its present geographic range must be considered high. Having been accidentally introduced to both Hawaii and eastern USA (Florida), it seems likely that it will spread further. There is a clear danger of damage to tea plantations in Africa and South America if the species establishes in those regions. The most common fungal symbionts associated with E. perbrevis in Florida were Fusarium sp. and Graphium sp. (Carrillo et al., 2016). The symbiotic fungus invades the tree vascular tissue, causing branch dieback and mortality of a broad range of tree hosts (Eskalen et al., 2013). Symbionts can be switched or shared in the genus Euwallacea (Kasson et al., 2013; O’Donnell et al., 2015; Dodge et al., 2017) highlighting the potential threat of other species in this genus. Closely related species to E. perbrevis can cause significant damage, such as E. fornicatus which causes branch dieback when it introduces its symbiotic fungus Fusarium euwallaceae (Eskalen et al., 2012; Freeman et al., 2013).
Hosts/Species AffectedTop of page
Members of Euwallacea and the related genera Ambrosiodmus, Xyleborinus, Xyleborus and Xylosandrus are all ambrosia beetles that feed and breed in a variety of forest trees and shrubs. Depending on the species, they may be found in small branches and seedlings to large logs. All are potentially damaging to agriculture and/or forestry under suitable conditions. Many species, currently considered of only minor importance, may become important pests in agriculture and forestry as a result of the interaction between ambrosia beetles and naïve hosts, the expansion of forest and tree crop plantations, and changes in environmental conditions from climate change and land use increasing the susceptibility of hosts.
E. perbrevis attacks a very wide range of host trees, including many commodity trees. It typically attacks stems and branches that are damaged, stressed or dying. Attacks on healthy plants are reported (Kalshoven, 1958; Browne, 1968). However, healthy plants can sometimes resist attack by exuding gum or latex in which the beetle can become entrapped (Kalshoven, 1958; Danthanarayana, 1968). As the taxonomic identity of the E. fornicatus species complex was recently addressed, most host records have been reported with no clear distinction within species. Gomez et al. (2019) updated the species complex host list to more than 400 species in 75 families, reporting 110 as breeding hosts. In the 1960s, 99 species of plant hosts, including 21 reproductive hosts, were recorded across the native distribution of E. perbrevis in Sri Lanka, India and South-East Asia (Browne, 1961; Danthanarayana, 1968). In USA (Florida), Euwallacea has been recorded from avocado, mango, soursop, royal poinciana, swampbay, wild tamarind and albizia (Carrillo et al., 2012; Owens et al., 2018).
A revision of reproductive and non-reproductive hosts for the E. fornicatus species complex was recently conducted by Gomez et al. (2019).
Host Plants and Other Plants AffectedTop of page
Growth StagesTop of page
SymptomsTop of page
E. perbrevis bores into the stems and branches of suitable hosts, initially visible as circular, 1.5 mm holes with white frass in addition to resin, latex or other plant host defences depending on the species attacked. In avocado growing in dry conditions, a white exudate forms, known as a ‘sugar volcano’ (Eskalen et al., 2013). Repeated attacks by E. perbrevis in successive pruning cycles cause severe chronic debilitation of the tea bushes. Following attack, branches become weak, unproductive, wilted, susceptible to further attack, and usually eventually dieback of the branch. The physical damage to the branch may result in it breaking and falling. Trees and shrubs become weakened and disfigured from losing branches.
List of Symptoms/SignsTop of page
|Stems / dieback|
|Stems / internal feeding|
|Stems / rot|
|Whole plant / dwarfing|
|Whole plant / plant dead; dieback|
Biology and EcologyTop of page
Browne (1961) reviewed the biology and ecology of E. perbrevis in South-East Asia. Muraleedharan (1986) described its biology on tea in India. Wood and Bright (1992) gave several hundred references relating to the biology, habits, taxonomy and control of E. perbrevis. The biology and ecology of E. perbrevis is probably very similar to that of other species in the E. fornicatus species complex.
The major factors that determine the intensity of attacks on tea in southern India are the state of maturity of the branches, the height of pruning, the time of pruning, and the length of the pruning cycle (Muraleedharan et al., 2003). The primary branches formed after pruning are more susceptible to attack, and attack densities are higher in blocks under a longer pruning cycle (Muraleedharan et al., 2003). The distribution of attacks on tea plants is also discussed by Sivapalan (1975).
Adult females disperse during the day attacking hosts in a range 30-35 m, but they can travel 400 m (Browne, 1961; Owens et al., 2019a). Females bore a bifurcated or simple tunnel in the twigs or branches of the host, so that it encircles the stem. If the host material is of a small diameter, one or two branch tunnels may be constructed. These may be straight or spiral and are often longer than 5 cm.
Egg-laying begins as soon as the entrance tunnel is completed. Eggs are laid singly or in small clusters. In Malaysia, egg production continues fairly steadily for about 10 days, after which there is a marked decline, although laying may proceed at intervals for at least an additional 10 days. In Java, broods may include 15-20 individuals (Kalshoven, 1958). In Sri Lanka, the maximum per brood was 34 individuals (Gadd, 1941). In Malaysia, Browne (1961) reported that three galleries in Pajanelia sp. averaged 28.3 individuals per brood.
Males are produced in much smaller numbers, and develop more rapidly than females. The males cannot fly and do not normally leave the parental gallery, although they sometimes emerge and crawl on the surface of the bark. Occasionally, these males may enter a gallery made by another female and mate with the females in that gallery system; thus a very small amount of cross-breeding occurs. The larvae live in the parental galleries. The female larvae pass through three instars (Gadd, 1941; Browne, 1961). The larvae pupate together in the tunnels. After emergence from the pupal stage, the young females remain in the galleries for several days, during which time they are fertilized by their brothers. Mated females emerge through the original entrance tunnel and fly to new hosts. They fly during the day and are not attracted to light. In tea plantations they seldom fly higher than 2 m (Judenko, 1956).
In Malaysia, Browne (1961) found that the parent beetle raises only one brood, and dies when her offspring have flown. In the lowlands of Peninsular Malaysia, the life-cycle takes 29-33 days. However, eggs continue to be produced for about 3 weeks and it is possible that the emergence of adults from the host may continue for a similar period (Browne, 1961). In southern India, Muraleedharan (1983) reported that the egg, larval and pupal stages lasted 8-10, 21-26 and 10-12 days, respectively. The developmental period varies with altitude, temperature and predation, but most of the new generation emerge about 5-6 weeks after the host is infested. Cooperband et al. (2016) found that adults develop in 22 days at 24°C, producing 68 female adults in 6 weeks, 7% of which are males. The ratio of females to males is low compared to many other ambrosia beetles. In Java, it has been estimated as 9:1 (Kalshoven, 1958), and in Sri Lanka as 4:1 (Beeson, 1941) and 3:1 (Judenko, 1956). In Malaysia, Browne (1961) examined several complete broods and reported there were four or five females to each male.
Like all ambrosia beetles, E. perbrevis feeds on a symbiotic fungus that is cultivated in the xylem of woody plants (Batra, 1967). The symbiotic fungi, introduced into the gallery by the attacking female, serves as their source of nutrition for larvae, with severe pathogenic effects for some species. The spores of the ambrosia fungus are stored and carried in a specialized structure called mycangia (Batra, 1963) located near the mandibles of the adult female (Fernando, 1960). The spores travel from the mycangia through ducts to the buccal cavity and are then deposited in the gallery using the mandibles and maxillae. Early work on the ambrosia fungi (e.g. Speyer, 1923; Gadd and Loos, 1947) should not be relied on, because of problems with fungal taxonomy and contamination of fungal cultures. In southern India, Mouli and Kumar (1988) found the fungus Fusarium tumidum in the tunnels of E. perbrevis in tea branches. Somasekhara et al. (2000) isolated the phytopathogen, Ceratocystis fimbriata, from E. perbrevis in wilting pomegranate trees in Karnataka and Maharashtra. Fusarium bugnicourtii is given as the ambrosia fungus by UPASI Tea Research Foundation, Kerala, India (2003a). Carrillo et al. (2016) found Fusarium sp. and Graphium sp. as the most common fungal symbionts associated with E. perbrevis in Florida. The vectorized fungus invades the vascular tissue of the host, causing necrosis, gum exudates, branch dieback, and potential mortality in several host species.
Natural enemiesTop of page
Notes on Natural EnemiesTop of page
The immature stages have few natural enemies. Muraleedharan et al. (1988) recorded no animal natural enemies of E. perbrevis in a survey in southern India, and none appear to have been recorded elsewhere. The female parent remains for much of the time in or near the gallery entrance whilst the immature stages are developing, preventing the entry of potential predators and parasitoids. Provided that the female remains alive and the growth of the ambrosia fungus on which the larvae feed is satisfactory, mortality of the immature stages is likely to be very low. Most mortality is probably during the dispersal of the adults, and during gallery establishment. Adults have been found in the crop contents of the swiftlet (Collocalia fuciphaga) (Beaver and Browne, 1979) and they are predated by lizards, clerid beetles and ants as they attempt to bore into the host tree. Recently, the occurrence of the pathogenic fungus, Beauveria bassiana, on E. perbrevis adults has been noted in Tamil Nadu, India (Selvasundaram and Muraleedharan, 2000). Signs of adult parasitoids have been found in China, observing exit holes in the abdomen of a few individuals, yet the species responsible is still unknown (Li et al., 2016).
Means of Movement and DispersalTop of page
Active flight is one of the main means of movement to previously uninfected areas. Adult females can fly up to 400 m, but usually will attack hosts in a range of 35 m. However, the increasing global movement of commodities has significantly increased the transport of this and related species in timber and wood packaging material, such as dunnage and crating.
Both adults and larvae of E. perbrevis are dependent on the growth of the symbiotic fungus on the walls of the gallery system in the wood for their food (Beaver, 1989). However, other pathogenic fungi can be transported on the cuticle of the beetle, as has been shown for other severe ambrosia beetles (Carrillo et al., 2014) although their chance of survival there is much lower than in the mycangial pouch. For example, E. perbrevis is associated with the spread of Ceratocystis fimbriata in southern India (Somasekhara and Wali, 2000; Somasekhara et al., 2000).
Plant TradeTop of page
|Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transport||Pest stages||Borne internally||Borne externally||Visibility of pest or symptoms|
|Bark||adults||Yes||Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye|
|Stems (above ground)/Shoots/Trunks/Branches||adults; eggs; larvae; pupae||Yes||Pest or symptoms not visible to the naked eye but usually visible under light microscope|
|Wood||adults; eggs; larvae; pupae||Yes||Pest or symptoms not visible to the naked eye but usually visible under light microscope|
|Plant parts not known to carry the pest in trade/transport|
|Fruits (inc. pods)|
|Growing medium accompanying plants|
|True seeds (inc. grain)|
Wood PackagingTop of page
|Wood Packaging liable to carry the pest in trade/transport||Timber type||Used as packing|
|Loose wood packing material||Fresh twigs or branches||Yes|
|Solid wood packing material with bark||Fresh unseasoned wood||Yes|
|Solid wood packing material without bark||Fresh unseasoned wood||Yes|
|Wood Packaging not known to carry the pest in trade/transport|
|Processed or treated wood|
Impact SummaryTop of page
|Fisheries / aquaculture||None|
ImpactTop of page
E. perbrevis impacts tea severely in at least 10 different countries (Li et al., 2015), mostly damaging plantations in India and Sri Lanka for several decades (Cranham, 1966; Danthanarayana, 1968). It seriously affects about one-third of the tea acreage in Sri Lanka, although it does not occur in tea above an altitude of 1300 m. E. perbrevis is a relatively minor pest of tea in South-East Asia. Waterhouse (1993) notes that the species is locally important in Malaysia.
There is little precise information about the crop loss caused by E. perbrevis or other tea pests. In Sri Lanka, the loss of crop in 1953-1955 was estimated as 8-9% and possibly over 20% (Portsmouth, 1956). Cranham (1966) considered these estimates were reasonable. In Sri Lanka, the level of attacks is related to the pruning cycle, and negatively correlated with the crop size in the preceding month (Sivapalan, 1977).
In southern India (Karnataka and Maharashtra), E. perbrevis has recently become a serious pest of pomegranate. Somasekhara and Wali (2000) found that damage caused by the wilt fungus, Ceratocystis fimbriata, which is vectored to some extent by the beetle, caused monetary loss worth Rs. 67.45 lakhs during 1996-1997 and Rs. 26.9 lakhs during 1999-2000. Attacks in Maharashtra are positively related to humidity, and negatively related to temperature (Mote and Tambe, 2000a).
Also in Kerala, Mathew (1985), Mathew and Nair (1986) and Nair and Mathew (1988) consider that E. perbrevis is a major pest of Albizia falcataria, and a potentially serious pest of Gmelina arborea, both of which are fast-growing forest plantation trees.
In 2002, it was recorded from USA (Florida), with minor impacts recorded (Rabaglia et al., 2006). Since 2012, it has been increasingly recorded in avocado groves in southern Florida, with significant levels of damage (Carrillo et al., 2016).
Prevention and ControlTop of page
Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.
In Sri Lanka and southern India, several tea varieties have been developed that show at least partial resistance to E. perbrevis (Jayasuriya, 1979; Rao, 1979; Thirugnanasuntharan and Jayachandran, 1989).
The high concentrations of caffeine found in some tea clones inhibit or prevent the growth of the ambrosial fungus. Kumar et al. (1995) reported that tea clone TRI 2023, which is only slightly susceptible to E. perbrevis, accumulates higher concentrations of caffeine than clone TRI 2025, which is more susceptible to E. prebrevis.
Following the discovery of the entomopathogenic fungus, Beauveria bassiana, attacking E. perbrevis adults in Tamil Nadu (Selvasundaram and Muraleedharan, 2000), the strain of the fungus involved has been developed as a means of biological control. It significantly reduces the beetle population, and is now available commercially as a wettable powder (UPASI Tea Research Foundation, 2003b).
A further recent development is the use of an alternative attractant to lure the beetles away from the tea bushes. UPASI Tea Research Foundation (2003a) suggests the use of cut stems of Montanoa bipinnatifida (Asteraceae) placed in infested plantations to attract the beetles, which may later be killed by burning the stems.
The decision to use chemical control is influenced by the difficulties of application (E. perbrevis feeds deep in the wood of infested branches), the cost, and environmental concerns. Ornamental trees of high value should be protected in advance with a systemic insecticide before infestation occurs. Preventive treatments with emamectin benzoate combined with the systemic fungicide propiconazole, were shown to be effective in reducing colonization of E. fornicatus, a closely related species (Grosman et al., 2019). However, this control measure is not approved in the USA for some agricultural products such as avocado. Preventive sprays in the bark can also be effective, but they need to be re-applied frequently.
For tea plantations, deltamethrin can be applied during the peak activity time of E. perbrevis in the second and third years of the 3-year pruning cycle of tea, to significantly reduce infestation levels (Muraleedharan and Radhakrishnan, 1994). In India, both fenvalerate and cypermethrin, sprayed on tea plants at different concentrations reduced E. perbrevis infestation to 5%, compared with an infestation rate of 33% for plants that received no treatment (Muraleedharan et al., 1992). Selvasundaram et al. (2001) found that Lambda-cyhalothrin 2.5 EC was more effective in reducing E. perbrevis populations than fenvalerate. Against attacks on pomegranate, Mote and Tambe (2000b) found that chlorpyrifos applied as a paste to the tree trunk was the most effective and economical insecticides for the control of the pest. The addition of geru (red soil) and copper oxychloride to the insecticides increased the control of insect pests.
The effect of potassium acetate and zinc acetate, when applied at concentrations of 0.5, 1.0 and 1.5 g/bush, 4, 8 and 12 months after pruning, on the incidence of E. perbrevis on mature tea plants was studied by Ranasinghe and Wickremasinghe (1988) in Sri Lanka. The number of pupae and adults in treated plots was significantly reduced for up to 21 months after pruning. Earlier studies by Wickremasinghe and Thirugnanasuntheram (1980) indicated the same effect; the mechanism of action of potassium acetate was thought to be related to its conversion to saponins and/or sterol analogues that interfere with pupation.
Soil applications of granular systemic insecticides proved ineffective against E. perbrevis in India (Mote and Tambe, 1990).
Push-pull strategies using quercivorol and ɑ-copaene as attractants in white sticky traps and verbenone as deterrents have been also suggested as a viable control strategy (Kendra et al., 2017; Owens et al., 2019b).
Periodic surveys for trees with branch dieback and signs of beetle colonization is recommended. In avocado plantations, small and mid-size branches will show the presence of ‘sugar volcanos’ (sugar exudates) as a clear sign of infestation. Once the infested branches and/or trees are detected, they should be removed and destroyed, either chipping, burning or burying. Chipping should be conducted to obtain sizes smaller than 5 cm (Jones and Paine, 2015). If chipping or burning is not feasible for trees, they can be covered by a tarp and exposed to direct sun. Pruning affected branches was an effective measure in Florida and Israel, where closely related species caused similar damage.
Recent changes in cultural practices in tea plantations in Sri Lanka have increased yields but have intensified pest problems, particularly the damage caused by E. perbrevis. The most important damage caused by E. perbrevis is to the primary branches (those generally removed in low pruning but left in high pruning), therefore low pruning every two to three pruning cycles has been recommended (Sivapalan and Delucchi, 1974).
To successfully decrease the spread of E. perbrevis, local awareness campaigns should focus on not moving wood.
Integrated Pest Management
IPM programmes combining cultural and chemical control have been developed and implemented, especially in southern India (Muraleedharan, 1995).
UPASI Tea Research Foundation (2003a) summarizes suggestions and recommendations for the control of E. fornicatus in India. These include attention to pruning height, adding fertilizer to pruned fields, spraying of entomopathogenic fungus, use of alternative attractant, and chemical treatment.
Management is based on early detection, sanitation and preventive measures. Infested branches should be removed and destroyed (chipped, burned or buried). Heavily infested trees need to be taken out and destroyed (chipped, burned, or covered by a tarp under direct sun (‘solarization’). High-value ornamental trees can be protected before any infestation by injection of systemic insecticides. Preventive treatments with emamectin benzoate alone (systemic insecticide) or combined with propiconazole (systemic fungicide), significantly reduced attack and colonization of E. fornicatus in California (Grosman et al., 2019).
ReferencesTop of page
APPPC, 1987. Insect pests of economic significance affecting major crops of the countries in Asia and the Pacific region. Technical Document No. 135. Bangkok, Thailand: Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific region (RAPA)
Batra LR, 1963. Ecology of ambrosia fungi and their dissemination by beetles. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science (1903-), 66(2), 213-236.
Beaver RA, 1989. Insect-fungus relationships in the bark and ambrosia beetles. Insect-fungus interactions. 14th Symposium of the Royal Entomological Society of London in collaboration with the British Mycological Society [edited by Wilding, N.; Collins, N.M.; Hammond, P.M.; Webber, J.F.] London, UK; Academic Press, 121-143
Beaver RA, Browne FG, 1979. The Scolytidae and Platypodidae (Coleoptera) of Penang, Malaysia. ORIENTAL INSECTS, 12(1978):575-624
Beeson CFC, 1941. The ecology and control of the forest insects of India and the neighbouring countries. Dehra Dun, India: Published privately, Vasant Press (Copyright: Government of India)
Bright DE, Skidmore RE, 1997. A catalog of Scolytidae and Platypodidae (Coleoptera), Supplement 1 (1990-1994). Ottawa, Canada: NRC Research Press, 368 pp
Bright DE, Skidmore RE, 2002. A catalogue of Scolytidae and Platypodidae (Coleoptera), Supplement 2 (1995-1999). Ottawa, Canada: NRC Research Press, 523 pp
Browne FG, 1961. The biology of Malayan Scolytidae and Platypodidae. Malayan Forest Records, 22:1-255
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08/08/19 Original text by:
Demian F. Gomez, School of Forest Resources and Conservation, University of Florida, USA
Andrew J. Johnson, University of Florida, USA
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