Flatheaded Borer

Flatheaded Borers Working Group


Flatheaded borers are wood-boring beetles that attack economically-important trees including established and transplanted landscape specimens, trees grown as crops in commercial nurseries, fruit producing shrubs and trees, and silvicultural trees grown for wood products and nut crops. Some flatheaded borers are widely distributed (e.g., flatheaded appletree borer [Chrysobothris femorata]), while other species are more geographically specific (e.g., western species like Pacific flatheaded borer [Chrysobothris mali] and goldspotted oak borer [Agrilus auroguttatus]).  Flatheaded borers with specific regional distributions may present management challenges and threats to native and commodity host plants if these species are introduced and become established in other regions of the US.    


Although studies on flatheaded borer species biology, behavior, ecology, identification, and monitoring have been conducted in the last several years, numerous knowledge gaps remain to confound management and regulatory efforts, including but not limited to regional distribution, seasonal phenology, developmental host plant specificity, infestation levels and relatedness of attackers during commodity crop production, species complexes, trapping efficacy, and relative abundance across various commercial cropping systems.


Attacks on live trees vary among tree and shrub species and cultivars, plant health/response to stressors, climatic conditions, etc. Therefore, it is relevant to have a regionally focused research effort to study the extent to which species of these beetles cause damage to commodities vulnerable to attack.  Research will be needed to resolve spatio-temporal activities of species, as well as behaviors, which will then be utilized in developing novel monitoring and management strategies to prevent and/or mitigate severity of future infestations.


This Working Group aims to address the threats posed by flatheaded borers in commercial nurseries, tree and shrub fruit, tree nuts operations, and managed landscapes in the Southeastern and other parts of the US. Several members are currently working individually on various aspects of flatheaded borers 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, our working group aims to increase the extent 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, our working group will strive to secure research grant funding leading to an increase in 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.


Flatheaded Borer Species of Concern


Coming Soon:  Regional nursery, nut, and extension survey



Below are the Working Group Members and Cooperators(*):

 Commercial Nursery

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

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

*Frank Hale (Nursery, Extension Entomologist, University of Tennessee)

William Klingeman (Urban Landscape and Nursery, Research Entomologist, University of Tennessee)

Anthony LeBude (Nursery, Horticultural Research, North Carolina State University)

Lloyd Nackley (Nursery, Plant Physiological Ecologist, Oregon State University)

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

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

Anthony Witcher (Nursery, Plant Production and Sustainability, Tennessee State University)

Amy Fulcher (Nursery, Research Entomologist, University of Tennessee)

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


Tree/Shrub Fruit

Angelita Acebes-Doria (Tree fruit, Research and Extension Entomologist, UGA)

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

Oscar Liburd (Small fruits, Horticultural Entomologist, University of Florida)

Nik Wiman (Tree fruit, Research and Extension Entomologist, Oregon State University)


Tree Nut

Nik Wiman (Tree nut, Research and Extension Entomologist, Oregon State University)

Angelita Acebes-Doria (Tree nut, Research and Extension Entomologist, UGA)

Jhalendra Rijal (Tree nut, Research and Extension IPM Program, University of California)

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


Urban Forests and Managed Landscapes

*Steven Frank (Nursery & Urban Landscapes, Extension Entomologist North Carolina State University)

*Frank Hale (Nursery & Landscape, Extension Entomologist, University of Tennessee)

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


Plant Pathology

Fulya Baysal-Gurel (Nursery, Research Plant Pathologist, Tennessee State University)


Other Workshop Contributors

Jill Calabro (AmericanHort and HRI)

Kevin Chase (Bartlett Tree Research Lab)

Amy Dismukes (Nursery Extension Specialist, Tennessee State University)

Diana Londoño (Global Technology Support: Entomopathogenic Nematodes, BASF)

Christi Palmer (IR-4 Environmental Horticulture Program Manager)


Industry Partners

Alabama Nursery and Landscape Association


California Walnut Board

Florida Blueberry Growers Association

Georgia Pecan Growers Association

Middle Tennessee Nursery and Landscape Association

North Carolina Nursery and Landscape Association

Oregon Hazelnut Commission

South Carolina Green Industry Association

Tennessee Nursery and Landscape Association


Our first Working Group Meeting was held in McMinnville, TN on July 1-2, 2019




Download Flatheaded Borer Workshop Proceedings Here



  1. Identification/species identities of flatheaded borers responsible for infestation/impact on commodity crop production and landscape tree damage/decline
  • Status of taxonomic differentiation of adult beetles within and across species
  • Knowledge about morphology and genetics associated with species identification
  • Larval and adult diagnostic options for research validation/regulatory management


  1. Status of flatheaded borer infestation/impact on production for each commodity
  • Affected crop species, acreage, percent affected production, economic losses
  • Host plant and abiotic stressors influencing flatheaded borer attack behavior/prevalence in commodity crop systems and managed landscapes


  1. Identifying knowledge gaps on flatheaded borer species biology, behavior and ecology
  • What do we know and what don’t we know?
  • Host plant preferences/susceptibility of crop species and cultivars
  • What flatheaded borer beetle species are we seeing in different commodity systems?
  • Seasonal activity patterns and daily activity patterns of economically/ecologically important species
  • Status of trapping efficacy/trap development needs/live trapping options?
  • Patterns of infestation and genetic relatedness of individuals within impacted cropping systems
  • Natural enemy pressure and biological control options
  • Interactions of flatheaded borer species with plant pathogens


  1. Grower perceptions about flatheaded borer challenges within and effecting management at their commodity production operations.
  • Commodity groups survey results and Town Hall interactions


  1. Identifying research and Extension/outreach priorities for flatheaded borer monitoring and management in nursery/horticultural commodity crop production and landscape systems


For more information or to participate with this working group, contact Dr. Karla Addesso (kaddesso@tnstate.edu) or Dr. Jason Oliver (joliver@tnstate.edu)