To develop new techniques of capturing live adults for study, and for rearing the beetle in captivity.
The project aims to clarify the role of Agrilus biguttatus in Acute Oak Decline (AOD). AOD is a syndrome caused by multiple factors and results in rapid loss of health of oak trees, often killing them in just a few years. Trees affected with AOD are characterised by clearly visible symptoms of weeping patches on the stems. The underlying inner bark tissues are necrotic, breaking down so that cavities develop between the wood and the outer bark (Denman and Webber, 2010). Canopy condition, which may vary, appears to be unrelated to stem symptoms until tree are near death, in which case the canopies are poor. Bacteria are consistently isolated from necrotic phloem and sapwood, and Agrilus biguttatus larval galleries are present in > 90% of cases studied so far (Denman, Kirk and Brown personal communication). It is essential to understand the role of A. biguttatus in the AOD syndrome in order to predict the impact of, and manage the spread of AOD across the UK.