Development of Survey and monitoring procedures for a new pest in orchards - Black stem borer

Worksite Location
Wayne Co CCE
Faculty Sponsor
Art Agnello and Kerik Cox
Other Campus-Based Mentors/Supervisors
Deborah Breth
Field Mentors/Supervisors
Elizabeth Claypoole
Project Summary and Intended Outcomes

A new pest, black stem borer, an ambrosia beetle, was detected in apples in 2013 in 6 sites in western NY, associated with fire blight and tree death resulting in tree losses exceeding 10%. This pest has a reputation for attacking nursery trees and apparently healthy trees and has a wide host range. It has never been noted in 28 years of scouting western NY. This pest is also associated with fungal growth in the tunnels it bores to feed the larvae, which can be damaging to the trees as well. Agnello and Breth will work with the intern to develop trapping equipment and procedures, and survey grower orchards starting with the originally identified sites, and expanding the search perimeters to assess the extent of infestation. Cox and Breth will work with the intern to identify any plant pathogens that may be associated. Elizabeth Claypoole will supervise the intern and help make connections in the industry. This project will facilitate more detailed survey, collections, and identification of ambrosia beetles by species, and determine the extent of spread of this pest for future inclusion in IPM programs.

Roles and Responsibilities

The student will install and monitor traps for black stem borer (BSB), identify and count the number of BSB in the mix with other incidental ambrosia beetles. The student will monitor the originally identified orchards where BSB was found and examine trees in the surrounding area for additional infested trees. He/she will assess tree losses. He/she will collect insects and infested tree samples for isolations to be made in the lab, and will assist in isolations in Geneva. The student will enter trap data, orchard monitoring results, tree loss counts, and identification of BSB. The student will report findings of pathogens associated with BSB in these locations. The student will present findings on the project at the final 'report out' session in the Fall semester. A literature search of this type of pest occurrence would be a valuable complement to the study.

Qualifications and Previous Coursework

Must be a full time CALS freshman, sophomore or junior. Graduating seniors are not eligible. Must meet NYS Department of Motor Vehicle requirement, if applicable.
Plant protection courses in entomology and plant pathology would be helpful. The ability to meet the travel requirements of the position (a valid NYS drivers license for at least 3 yrs, with no moving violations). Travel to study sites anticipated approximately 2 days per week; there is no overnight travel expected.

Benefits and Skills

Student will learn about ambrosia beetles and other pests encountered in commercial apple orchards. The intern will learn about insect taxonomy skills, and fungal and bacterial isolations.