Back to Page
Ambrosia Beetle, Black Stem Borer Control in Apple Nurseries

Grant Program: OAR
Agricultural Sector: Fruit
Project Duration: 4/1/2015 - 3/31/2017
Amount Awarded: $74,245.00
Lead Organization: Cornell
Project Leader: Deborah Breth
Print View
6/1/15 Managing an Emerging Threat in Apple Orchards

Proposal Abstract

Black stem borer (BSB) has caused as much as 10-30% of tree loss in at least 25 high value, high-density apple orchards in the last 2 years. It was identified as an economic pest in apple nurseries in 2013 and is associated with tree death, fire blight, and other fungal diseases in young high-density plantings. Nursery trees planted into new orchard sites have had signs of infestation in the rootstock, suggesting nurseries are a source for this pest in new sites as well as woods edges.  Management strategies for this pest at the nursery level will differ from the management in apple orchards due to differences in products registered between nurseries and orchards.  This project will assess the prevalence of this pest in commercial and grower on-farm nurseries, and provide randomized, replicated treatment plots to identify effective strategies to prevent BSB infestation in apple nurseries. This will help nurseries prevent losses of nursery stock in the nursery and prevent the distribution of this difficult to detect pest in to new orchard sites. 

Final Report Summary Statement

Black stem borer was a newly emerged pest noted in apples in Western NY in 2013.  This project determined that it is mainly a problem in Western NY fruit industry, and that although BSB can be trapped in the Champlain and Hudson Valleys, their numbers have not resulted in significant infestations or tree losses.  Estimates of losses in Western NY were ~ $260,000 on 54 farms in 2015 in a survey conducted in the winter of 2016.  A survey in the winter of 2017 reported 48 farms had an estimated loss of $117,000 in tree loss.               

Because BSB infestations were found in nursery trees, it was believed that nursery stock might be the original source of infestation in new orchards.  Therefore, we tried to identify insecticides that might protect nursery trees to prevent the establishment of this pest in new plantings. The populations in the nursery control trials were not always high enough to get separation of insecticide treatments, but where the populations were highest, Lorsban was generally effective at reducing the number of BSB attacks as they emerge from their overwintering sites in the spring.  The efficacy of pyrethroids was inconsistent, but they may be useful for summer flights of BSB.  The nursery assessments for BSB infestation were surprising low, to nonexistent. But nursery operators had already started to adopt suggested protections to prevent infestations.  Because this pest is dependent on high density orchards under stress and emitting ethanol to attract the black stem borer, I believe this is not an entomological issue, but a horticultural issue that should be addressed in an inter-disciplinary project.  High density orchard establishment costs are too high to risk planting on poorly selected sites.  With the record rainfall in Spring of 2017, this problem may rise again, but perhaps the controls in place will prevent a resurgence in attacks. 

Project Impact Data

Producers Participating: 23

Producers Advising: 2

Research/Extension Employed: 1

Increase in Gross Farm Revenue: $500,000.00

Potential Industry Impact: $500,000.00

Articles/Publications: 2

Presentations: 10

Total Producers Engaged: 250

Back to Page