New beetle discovered in southwest Ohio

Frank HincheyFairfield, Ohio – A fungus-carrying beetle that could kill walnut trees has been documented for the first time in southwest Ohio, according to Ohio the Department of Agriculture.

The Walnut Twig Beetle is known to carry a fungus that causes Thousand Canker Disease, which could impact the sustainability of the trees. Once infected by the fungus, a walnut tree eventually dies.  There is no  known cure for the canker disease, according to the agriculture department.

The beetles were found in traps set by the Ohio Division of Forestry at a wood veneer company in Fairfield, Ohio, in Butler County. Wood products from the business were quarantined as a result of the discovery.

Thousand Canker Disease was detected in Colorado in 2003 and since been discovered in 11 other states, most recently in Doylestown, Pa., Richmond, Va., and Knoxville, Tenn. Finding the beetle in Tennessee got the attention of the agriculture department and foresters, said Drew Todd, Ohio urban forestry coordinator.

The ODA surveyed 28 potential sites across Ohio by setting up traps in trees to possibly detect the suspect beetle, Todd said. A beetle trapped in Fairfield was identified as a Walnut Twig beetle after analysis at Ohio State University, he said.

In September, the agriculture department enacted a quarantine regulating walnut products coming to Ohio from states where the Walnut Twig Beetle was discovered. Most of the infected states are in the west of the Rockies, Todd said. Other infected states are: Arizona, California, Idaho, Utah, New Mexico, Neveda, Oregon, and Washington state.

Symptoms of the disease include thinning crowns, yellowing or wilted leaves in the crown, leaves smaller than normal, and tree limbs that have recently died.

The agriculture deparment is conducting an investigation in Butler County for additonal walnut twig beetles and surveying trees for Thousand Canker Disease.

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