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US researchers try fungal foam on ambrosia beetles

USDA researchers are injecting an experimental foam containing spores of entomopathogenic fungi into avocado trees in an experiment to control ambrosia beetles in California. The foam was originally developed to introduce fungal spores into subterranean termite colonies. The Agriculture Research Service scientists are testing the foam in avocado orchards against redbay ambrosia beetles (Xyleborus glabratus) and shot hole borers (Euwallacea spp). Both beetles tunnel into avocado trees, infecting them with pathogenic fungi, the USDA points out.  Redbay ambrosia beetles spread laurel wilt disease (Raffaelea lauricola) and shot hole borers are vectors for Fusarium spp. The researchers are testing spores of Metarhizium spp, Isaria spp, Beauveria spp and other fungi in foam and vegetable oil-based formulations against the beetles.

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