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Oak Ambrosia Beetles, (platypus quercivorus), in combination with its associated ambrosia fungus Raffaelea quercivora, are capable of causing extensive tree mortality in oak forests dominated by Quercus mongolica and Q. serrata. This could result in major environmental impacts such as loss of biodiversity, changes in species composition of forests, reduced acorn crops and resultant adverse impacts on wildlife species that depend on acorns as a food source.
Oak Ambrosia Beetles
Male Oak Ambrosia Beetles initiate attacks on the boles of host trees and excavate galleries for mating from June to October. Apparently the first entry holes bored by male beetles trigger a mass attack, which generally occurs near ground level. A single female joins the male and, after mating, constructs the oviposition gallery, which is kept clean by the male by expelling the residues to the outside of the tree. During gallery construction, females inoculate the gallery surface with spores of the ambrosia fungus on which the larvae feed. Adult females began to deposit eggs at the terminal parts of tunnels two to three weeks after the beginning of gallery construction.
Hosts: The oak ambrosia beetle has a wide host range. It attacks many species of the family Fagaceae but is also known to attack trees from other families. reported hosts include: Chinese holly, Japanese chicquapin, Japanese tanbark oak, Japanese evergreen oak, sawtooth oak, ichiigashi, Japanese blue oak, Mongolian oak, ubamegashi, urazirogashi, konava, tsukabanegashi, spice bush, Prunus sp. and Japanese cedar.
Life Cycle : Eggs are elongated and cylindrical. Larvae are variable in size, ranging from 2-6 mm in length when mature. They are legless, creamy white in color with an amber to light brown colored head capsule. The last abdominal segment ends in a flat to slightly concave declivity. The pupae are creamy white in color and have partially developed wings and appendages.
Adults of the genus Platypus are reddish brown to dark brown in color with a cylindrical, elongated body that averages 5 mm long. These insects have a concave declivity armed with spines. The front (prothoracic) legs are adapted for excavation.
Adults are capable of sustained flight of at least 1 km and are also subject to dispersal by air currents. All life stages are subject to human assisted dispersal. Use of crating, pallets or dunage made from oak in international trade could result in the intercontinental spread of all life stages of Ambrosia Beetles. Localized spread of newly established infestations could be facilitated via the transport of logs and firewood.
Prevention and Control The management of Platypus spp. beetles includes the application of contact insecticide sprays to the bark of high value trees to prevent attack. Systemic insecticides can be applied to the soil or bark of infested trees. Attacks in harvested logs can be prevented by the timely removal of them from forested areas and rapid processing or debarking at the sawmill.
Oak Ambrosia Beetles Damage
Pest management methods that are designed to reduce the rate of oak mortality caused by the combination of P. quercivorus and Raffaelea quercivora are being developed in Japan. Recent studies indicated that both P. quercivorus and its associated fungus can be controlled by the injection of NCS into holes bored in the stems of host trees.
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