Cook County Ag Agent, Tucker Price, called me this week to report seeing the first flight of ambrosia beetles. For us in deep South GA, the first flight is usually late February. UGA Extension Pecan Horticulturalist Dr. Lenny Wells has this information:
We’ve had reports of ambrosia beetles attacking young trees in south GA recently. This is no surprise with the very dry late summer/fall and very mild winter we’ve had. The severe weather lately will likely make trees more vulnerable than usual where flooding rains and wind have really stressed some orchards. Trees that stand in water for long periods, especially when they are breaking bud and trying to leaf out, are very attractive to the beetles. Growers should be checking young trees regularly for frass toothpicks that indicate ambrosia beetle attack. It is also a good idea to have some traps out around those young orchards so you will know when the beetles are active. Cold weather will slow or stop the beetle flight temporarily, but we can probably expect to see activity pick back up as soon as warmer temperatures return. See link here for description of management.
Anyone planning to plant trees this year should try to get the trees in the ground no later than mid-February to aid in recovery from transplant shock before budbreak and warm weather arrives. Trees planted late become more stressed and have a harder time recovering from transplant shock.