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Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer (PSHB)

US (CA): Avocado pest "potentially devastating"

The Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer (PSHB), an tiny invasive beetle appears “well established” in the Santa Paula area of California. The California Avocado Commission (CAC) has called on avocado growers and stakeholders to be vigilant in surveying their groves.

The pest is especially concerning as it lacks a cure and is extremely aggressive: a tree can die in a matter of weeks once it is infected. Concerns about the pest were expressed during a November 10 Agricultural Roundtable with growers sponsored by Rep. Julia Brownley and featuring USDA Deputy Undersecretary Elvis Cordova.

According to the December 3 joint statement released by CAC on behalf of President Tom Bellamore, Vice President/Industry Affairs Ken Melban and Tim Spann, Research Program Director, “On Wednesday December 2nd, the Commission learned that six traps in the Santa Paula area had positive PSHB finds in them. All of these traps are located in or adjacent to commercial avocado groves to the west of Santa Paula,” and the captures bring the total number of finds in commercial avocado groves in the area to eight.

The statement noted that “one of the traps had 20 specimens in it and another had 10. Thus, it appears that a population of PSHB has become well established in the area.”

The CAC has funded research but more is needed and as soon as possible, as noted Edd McFadden, a grower, “It is potentially devastating,” to the avocado industry.

Following the meeting CAC’s Melban said the threat of the Shot Hole Borer — which is attracted to all trees — must be met head on, and fast.

Source: santapaulatimes.com

Publication date: 1/6/2016


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