As temperatures begin to rise and buds begin to swell, growers begin to monitor young pecan orchards for ambrosia beetle damage.
Parts of the pecan belt across the southern US have seen temperatures rise over the last few weeks and this puts pecan growers with young orchards on high alert for a small beetle that will bore into pecan trees causing damage and possibly death to young pecan trees.
Usually newly planted orchards younger than 4 years old are the most likely to be susceptible to the small beetles. The beetles bore into young trees pushing out the wood shavings, evident by a toothpick-like structure sticking out of the young tree.
Ambrosia beetles are in many different species of trees and are hard to predict. The University of Georgia has published multiple articles on the subject with pictures of damage as well as traps available to monitor for the beetles.
A pyrethroid should be applied to the trunks of the trees at evidence of first flight and usually only attack younger pecan trees that are 4 years and younger. If left unchecked the beetles can devastate newly planted orchards boring through the trees until the tree can no longer sustain the growth above the boring site causing the tree to lose any new growth and even kill the entire tree.
The beetles are attracted to stressed trees or trees with damage. Once trees completely leaf out the risk goes down but not completely, as ambrosia beetles are active all year.
The UGA extension office has published an informative article on the subject and can be found at the link below.