Tuesday, October 25, 2005

PIne beetles on the coast, on the move

I have frequently seen signs on the edges of pine forests saying, "Pine Gall Midge Control Area". I am not sure if the worms in this article cause pine gall and the vector is a beetle, not a midge, but either problem seems troubling and the location is about right; near Jumunjin.

A type of roundworm called a nematode (info here) is parasitizes beetles and pine trees. I am not sure how the beetle is affected by the worm but the worm is known as the "AIDS of pine trees.[because] there is no cure".

The flying sawyer beetle carries the worms but the situation is complicated by humans carrying infected lumber around the country.

From the article:
However, Korean officials believe that humans had more to do with the spread of pine wilt disease than insects, considering that the sawyer beetle moves less than three kilometers from its hatching ground during its life span.

``It is important to control the movement of timber coming in and out of infested areas. We believe that is how the disease spread north in the first place,’’ said Park.

The Korea Forest Service will cooperate with the National Police Agency and the Ministry of Construction and Transportation, to trace the movement of timber in 152 expressway tollgates nationwide.

The management of pine wilt disease is primarily limited to prevention, as there is no cure for it once a tree becomes infested the nematode. Korean forestry officials have been attempting to prevent the disease from spreading by spraying insecticide between May and June, the season when the sawyer beetle emerges, despite concerns about water pollution.

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