Conference focuses on new California avocado pest, disease

08/08/2012 05:22:00 PM
Vicky Boyd

California avocado growers have their own ambrosia beetle to be worried about—the polyphagous shot hole borer.

The beetle, which earlier had been misidentified as the tea shot hole borer, carries a Fusarium fungus, according to a news release.

Scientists from throughout the United States and abroad will meet at the Marriott Riverside Hotel, Riverside Calif., Aug. 12-14, to discuss the pest, the fungus and possible control strategies.

The three-day meeting is hosted by the University of California, Riverside; UC Cooperative Extension and the California Avocado Commission.

The public is invited to the opening day, Aug. 12, from 2-5 p.m. for a panel discussion.

The beetle causes problems when it bores into trees to feed, spreading the Fusarium fungus.

The fungus attacks the vascular tissue of trees, disrupting water and nutrient flow and causing branch dieback and eventual death.

The beetle also attacks coast live oak, boxelders and other trees.

Both the fungus and beetle were discovered on several residential avocado trees and a commercial avocado grove in Los Angeles County earlier this year.

To date, no effective solutions to the beetle or fungus have been found.

For more information on the beetle, visit the UC Center for Invasive Species Research.

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