Walnut twig beetle (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Scolytinae) Colonization of eastern black walnut nursery trees
Thousand cankers disease, caused by the invasive bark beetle Pityophthorus juglandis Blackman and an associ-ated fungal pathogen Geosmithia morbida M. .Kolank , E. Freeland, C. Utley, N. Tisserat, currently threatens the health of eastern black walnut (Juglans nigra L.) in North America. Both the beetle and pathogen have ex- panded beyond their native range via transport of infested walnut wood. Geosmithia morbida can develop in seedlings following inoculation, but the ability of P. juglandis to colonize young, small diameter trees has not been investigated. This study assessed the beetle’s colonization behavior on J. nigra nursery trees. Beetles were caged directly onto the stems of walnut seedlings from five nursery sources representing a range of basal stem diameter classes. Seedlings were also exposed to P. juglandis in a limited choice, field-based experiment comparing pheromone-baited and unbaited stems. When beetles were caged directly onto stems, they probed and
attempted to colonize seedlings across the range of diameters and across sources tested, including stems as small as 0.5 cm in diameter. In the field experiment, beetles only attempted to colonize seedlings that were baited with a pheromone lure and appeared to prefer (though not statistically significant) the larger diameter trees. Despite several successful penetrations into the phloem, there was no evidence of successful progeny de- velopment within the young trees in either experiment. Further investigation is recommended to better eluci-date the risk nursery stock poses as a pathway for thousand cankers disease causal organisms.