The Identification and Diagnosis of Longhorn Beetles in China and nearby Countries

Shenzhen Fairy Lake Botanical Garden & Chinese Academy of Sciences, March 26-27 2015

The two day workshop gave participants an in-depth introduction to monitoring and surveying techniques used for the identification of damaging plant pests and pathogens. The workshop focused particularly on increasing knowledge of the longhorn beetle family in the South China area. The workshop included information about key identification skills, including demonstrating the use of the IPSN Plant Health Checker; a standard form for recording change in any species of plant.

  • Day 1 - number of lectures introducing the workshop and exploring the longhorn beetles family
  • Day 2 - held outside, participants were able to search for, and with the help of trainers, identify pests within the garden, and practiced recognising signs and symptoms of damage, longhorn beetle management and trapping techniques

The workshop not only trained the participants in skills surrounding the identification of longhorn beetles, but also provided the valuable opportunity for networking. A QQ group (chatting tool) has been created to provide a platform for continued communication. It is hoped this workshop could lead to similar events in the future.

The workshop included 24 participants from 17 institutions, including staff from botanical gardens, students from universities and government officials from Shenzhen Quarantine Bureau and Hong Kong Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department. It was managed by three experts; Dr Chris  Malumphy (Senior Entomologist and Collections Manager, Fera, UK), Dr Huanhuan Wan (CABI, China), and Dr Hui Dong (FLBG).

'It’s our great pleasure to host the BGCI and IPSN workshop. This event brought together the plant protection researchers in the Chinese botanic gardens community for the first time. It’s a excellent opportunity for us to share plant conservation and protection knowledge and perspective.' - Dr Hui Dong from Fairy Lakes Botanical Gardens

Special thanks go to the fantastic organisers and hosts of the workshop; Dr Xiaoming Wang, Dr Shouzhou Zhang, Dr Hui Dong and her team at Fairy Lakes Botanical Gardens, Dr Chris Malumphy, Dr Huanhuan Wan and Xiangying Wen (BGCI). This workshop was funded by the UK’s DEFRA Horizon Scanning and Technology Implementation grant.

See also:


 IPSN Plant Pest Monitoring & Prevention Workshop

Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens, 3 – 4 March 2015

The main focus of the workshop was to look at two insects that have become prominent pests in the California area, and which pose potential threats to other country’s flora around the world; including Mexico, elsewhere in the USA and Europe. These pests are the polyphagous shot hole borer (PSHB), Euwallacea spp., and the gold spotted oak borer (GSOB), Agrilus auroguttatus. For more information on these pests please see below.

Huntington Botanical Gardens have been instrumental in investigating the PSHB, working closely with local plant health institutes.

  • Day 1 - Tim Thibault from the gardens gave a tour showing the symptoms of PSHB. Alongside this Richard Stouthamer and Akif Eskale from the University of California – Riverside (UCR) gave presentations on the PSHB complex and the pathogenic fungus (Fusarium euwallaceae) associated with PSHB that causes dieback and mortality in host trees.
  • Day 2 - participants travelled to Irvine Ranch Conservancy site, Orange County where they met Tom Coleman from the U.S. Forest Service. Attendees were taken into the field and shown GSOB damage in the local area, including the tell-tale signs of infestation on trees.

Attendees included staff from several Mexican Botanic Gardens (including Jardín Botánico de Vallarta, Jardín Botánico Todos Santos, Jardín Botánico y Herbario - Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, Jardín Botánico Benjamin, Jardin Botanico Culiacan), a number of professionals working within Mexico who concentrate on native flora and/or plant pests, as well as representatives from Huntington Botanical Gardens and other gardens in the local area. Apart from being a great opportunity to learn about two new and emerging pests, it also offered participants, trainers and organisers alike a chance to meet, chat and learn from each other.

Special thanks go to Tim Thibault, Jim Folsom and other staff at Huntington Botanical Gardens as well as Abby Hird from BGCI-US. Thanks also go to all of the speakers and contributors to the meeting; Tom Coleman from the USDA Forest Service, Richard Stouthamer and Akif Eskalen from the University of California – Riverside (UCR), Chris Malumphy from the UK’s Fera and Scott LaFleur from the Sherman Library and Gardens who represented APGA’s Sentinel Plant Network.

This workshop was funded by the UK’s DEFRA Horizon Scanning and Technology Implementation grant.

Polyphagous shothole borer (PSHB), Euwallacea spp.

The PSHB is actually part of a ‘species complex’ consisting of four species very similar in appearance (often referred to as cryptic species). The complex found in Los Angeles County, California is native to Vietnam and possibly southern China; it is thought to have been introduced with dunnage. As indicated by its name, it has a large host range and has been recorded on over 300 trees and shrubs (though it does not breed on all of these). It can produce up to 8 generations a year, meaning that population sizes can explode in a very narrow period of time. It has been estimated that PSHB will cause dieback and/or kill 25% of urban trees in the Los Angeles area, causing major environmental and economic damage.

Gold spotted oak borer (GSOB), Agrilus auroguttatus

 The GSOB is native to South-eastern Arizona but is behaving like an exotic invasive species in southern California. In some areas of California, up to 40% of native oaks have been killed and the beetle is continuing to spread. It is suspected to be moved over long distances in firewood and can take between 10 – 20 years to kill infested trees. Symptoms of GSOB infestation include twig die-back, crown thinning, black or red staining on the trunk and/or main branches and D-shaped emergence holes (3-4 mm). Currently, there are no effective ways to eradicate the beetle but there is ongoing research into management, including chemical, biological and cultural control methods.

Plant Pest and Disease Workshop

Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, 30 September - 1 October 2014

The IPSN and the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew held a 2 day workshop looking at increasing knowledge of UK plant pests and pathogens, particularly concentrating on potential new threats to European oak. The workshop was attended by representatives from the RHS, RBG Edinburgh, Botanic Gardens Conservation International, the UK’s Plant and Seed Health Inspectorate, the UK’s Food and Environmental Health Agency (FERA) and RBG Kew.

  • Day 1 - brief overview of the IPSN and general information on plant health in the UK; it included presentations from Dr Chris Malumphy and Dr Charles Lane (both from FERA)
  • Day 2 - concentrated on specific pests for oak (an iconic species in the UK). Among others, this included information on oak processionary moths and potential future threats such as oak wilt, red oak borer and the goldspotted oak borer.

On both days the group were able to make the most of the workshop’s beautiful surroundings with a look around the gardens with the RBG Kew biosecurity team. During the tour attendees and diagnosticians alike spotted a number of interesting signs and symptoms including bleeds/tar spots, wilted leaves and some interesting cases of dieback on a number of different host species including, of course, oak. 

Some thoughts from attendees:

  • ‘There is clear value in working in collaboration with other institutions to improve knowledge of plant pest and diseases. It is important to recognise on an institutional level the professional responsibility we have to look after the plants in our care and to report on and study the P&D that occurs upon them. The IPSN workshop at Kew has improved personal knowledge of specific current threats and attendance enables dissemination this knowledge to others at RBGE. We hope that continued membership of the IPSN will allow us to utilise the vast knowledge base that is the membership. We also hope that IPSN members will benefit from RBGE’s membership and will be able to utilise the resources we have in the collections and the expertise of the staff. Being able to study the management of the Oak Processionary Moth outbreak at Kew means we are well informed of the implications of an outbreak and that readiness will be very valuable as OPM advances.’  - William Hinchliffe, Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh
  • 'The workshop was a great opportunity to meet other plant health professionals and share information and experience. Workshops such as this will be a great tool allowing us to be proactive in preparing for the new pests and diseases that threaten native trees.'   - Anna Platoni, RHS (Wisley)

This was a brilliant opportunity to learn, share knowledge and network about plant pests and pathogens, and it is hoped it will be turned into an annual event. Thanks go to all those who attended and the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew for hosting.