Asian longhorned beetle is a major pest in China and Korea, where this native insect repeatedly attacks several species of trees, eventually killing them. Asian longhorned beetle was first found in North America in 1996 and since then has been found in a number of different urban locations. Federal efforts to eradicate this insect have been intensive; it is critically important that this beetle not become established in our native forests, at which point it could be impossible to eradicate this potentially devastating pest. Asian longhorned beetle is a difficult species to detect and to control. There are few methods for control and not all can be used in the urban areas where a method of biological control is preferable. This project has been developing a method for control of Asian longhorned beetle using insect pathogenic fungi with an innovative delivery system.
Research in the Cornell Department of Entomology has focused on developing methods for biological control of Asian longhorned. Since 1999, research has been conducted in the U.S. and in China. Methods have been based on a commercial product used to control a closely related beetle that is an orchard pest in Japan. Fungal bands impregnated with cultures of insect pathogenic fungi are placed around trees and adult beetles inoculate themselves during their characteristic prematurational wandering. Inoculated beetles can transfer infection when mating and recent experiments have demonstrated that infected females lay few successful eggs before dying. Fungal bands retain high densities of infective spores in the field for at least 3 months, which is excellent for controlling the long-lived adults that do not all emerge at the same time. Present studies are defining the density of spores on bands yielding 50% mortality. Our research efforts have focused on use of a fungal strain that has already been registered by EPA and field studies in China during 2005 focused on combining a host plant attractant chemicals with fungal bands to enhance control.
Asian longhorned beetle is a very difficult pest to control because larvae are cryptic, adults are high in trees and do not respond to long-distance pheromones and populations are at low levels. Based on public interest in use of biological control, we are presently encouraging USDA, APHIS to adopt this fungal band application methodology. We are also encouraging a U.S. industry to develop methods for production of fungal bands, so that enough bands will be available for use in infested areas. Availability of fungal bands will lead to major improvements in the types of control available against this potentially devastating invasive, as well as providing an effective and environmentally friendly method for control of this difficult pest.
funding source description
Grant from a private non-profit charitable foundation.