Olive Tree is Second Non-Ash Species Found Vulnerable to Emerald Ash Borer

Researchers at Wight State University have found that the invasive Emerald Ash Borer poses a threat to olive trees. Last fall, researchers at Wright State University announced they had found that emerald ash borer can develop from larvae to adulthood on a species of olive tree. Today, that study is published online in the Journal of Economic Entomology.
Their detailed report shows that 45 percent of the emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) eggs that hatched and entered olive tree stems were recovered alive during the experiment, either as larvae during periodic debarking, as prepupae or pupae, or as adults. “The level of success observed, while lower than on susceptible North American ash trees or even white fringetree, appears to be higher than their level of success on some of their native hosts, like Manchurian ash,” says Don Cipollini, Ph.D., professor of plant physiology and chemical ecology at Wright State and lead author of the study.
Cipollini and Ph.D. students Chad Rigsby (now in a postdoctoral position at the University of Rhode Island) and Donnie Peterson tested emerald ash borer (EAB) on cultivated olive (Olea europea) following the discovery that it could attack white fringetree (Chionanthus virginicus) in 2014. The experiment used cut stems of the Manzanilla cultivar of olive tree and was conducted in a lab setting. Now, Cipollini and students are testing for EAB vulnerability on potted live olive trees, other olive cultivars, and other tree species closely related to olive and fringetree. More


Photo of Emerald Ash Borer by Herman Wong, HM/Shutterstock.com