Saturday, February 26, 2005
"I take my fill of ambrosia..."
According to this report from The Island Packet, the death of red bay trees (Persea bobonia) on South Carolina's Hilton Head Island may not have been due to drought, as was previously thought. Researchers are now investigating the invasion of the Asian ambrosia beetle (Xylosandrus crassiusculus) as the root cause of the dieoffs. The beetles, which have been in nearby Georgia since at least 2002 (though this page notes that the original introduction in South Carolina in the mid-1970s), damage the trees and leave behind a nasty fungal infection to boot.
The "Asian ambrosia beetle" noted from Georgia in the 1970's is a different species then the one involved in red bay mortality in S. Carolina. Although both have the unfortunate name "Asian" they are two differnt species. The one causing damage to red bay is Xyleborus glabratus, and the other species is Xylosandrus crassiusculus. Xyleborus glabratus was first found in the US in 2002 in GA. Xylosandrus crassiusculus was first found in the 1970's.
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