Ambrosia Beetle Working Group

Ambrosia beetles are bark-boring beetles that attack economically-important trees in the Southern US including ornamental nurseries, tree fruit and tree nut. Although, studies on these beetles’ biology, behavior, ecology and management have been conducted in the last several years, there are still numerous knowledge gaps including but not limited to infestation levels, species complex and relative abundance in these cropping systems in the southern US. Conversely, monitoring and management options tested in other cropping systems in other regions need to be evaluated.


Species distribution and abundance of ambrosia beetles have been shown to be geographically-specific and that attacks on live trees tend to differ among tree species, tree health, etc. Therefore, it is relevant to have a regionally-focused research effort to study the extent to which these beetles can cause damage to commodities vulnerable to attack, their spatio-temporal activities and their behavior, which will then be utilized in developing monitoring and management strategies to prevent and/or curtail their infestations.


This Working Group aims to address the threats posed by ambrosia beetles in tree fruit, tree nuts and nurseries in the Southeastern US. Several members are currently working individually on various aspects of ambrosia beetle research (basic and applied); and commodity-specific research efforts. This group will enable greater coordination among these individual researchers and Extension specialists and will increase interaction with industry stakeholders to establish fundable research and prioritize Extension needs.


In the short term, we aim to increase the number of participant collaboration, and look at the production of formal documents generated from the collaborations including proposals, reports, presentations and database entry, etc.

In the medium term, we will look at securing research grant funding and the number of published manuscripts and official reports based on the information generated from the research activities.

Ultimately, we will look at the positive economic effects as a result of the collaborative research and Extension efforts taken by the working group.


Below are the Working Group members:


Ornamental Nursery

Shimat Joseph (Ornamentals and Nursery, Research and Extension Entomologist, UGA)

Jason Oliver (Nursery, Research Entomologist, Tennessee State University)

Karla Addesso (Nursery, Research Entomologist, Tennessee State University)

Juang-Horng Chong (Ornamental Nursery, Research and Extension Entomologist, Clemson University)

Christopher Ranger  (Nursery, Research Entomologist, USDA, Ohio)

Peter Schultz (Nursery, Entomologist, Virginia Tech)


Tree Fruit

Brett Blaauw (Tree fruit, Research and Extension Entomologist, UGA)

Jim Walgenbach (Tree Fruit, Research and Extension Entomologist, NCSU)

Art Agnello (Tree Fruit, Research and Extension Entomologist, Cornell University)*


Tree Nut

Angelita L. Acebes (Pecan, Research and Extension Entomologist, UGA)

William Hudson (Pecan, Tree Fruit and Nursery, Extension Entomologist, UGA)

Lenny Wells (Pecan, Extension Horticulturist, UGA)*

Bill Ree (Pecan, Research and Extension Entomologist, Texas A&M)

David Shapiro (Pecan, Research Entomologist, USDA, Georgia)

Ted Cottrell (Pecan and Tree Fruit, Research Entomologist, USDA, Georgia)



Jiri Hulcr (Forestry, Ambrosia Beetle Systematist/Research Entomologist, UF)


Our first Working Group Meeting will be Griffin, GA on October 15, 2019 (Tuesday).



  1. Status of ambrosia beetle infestation/impact on production for each commodity
  • Affected acreage, percent affected production, Economic losses,


  1. Identifying knowledge gaps on beetle biology, behavior and ecology
  • What do we know and what don’t we know?
  • What beetle species are we seeing in different commodity systems?
  • Seasonal activity patterns and daily activity patterns
  • Dispersal activity
  • Patterns of infestation


  1. Identifying research priorities on ambrosia beetle monitoring and management for each commodity
  • Nursery monitoring would be different from orchard monitoring
  • Different monitoring options and what’s best to use for research or for grower use
  • What management strategies have been proven to work against these beetles in specific systems?
  • How about other management options (stressrelieving factors, behaviorally-based management strategies)?