This project will focus on the oak lace bug (OLB) Corythucha arcuata (Heteroptera: Tingidae) an invasive Hemipteran insect introduced from its native range in N. America into Europe, and which was first detected in Europe in Italy in 2000 (Bernardinelli & Zandigiacomo, 2000).
Since its accidental introduction it has spread rapidly over a wide geographical area and is now found in over a dozen other European countries. In some countries, such as Hungary and Croatia its population has reached substantial levels where there is now serious concern that the pest may have significant impacts on oak health, as well as potentially increase the susceptibility of oaks to other pests and diseases.
The main objective(s) that will be considered by the collaborators involved in the project will include:
• What are the impacts of this insect pest on oak growth and fecundity, and why is there such variability in the insect’s apparent impacts across Europe (i.e. high impacts in Croatia and Hungary, and seemingly low impacts in Italy and Switzerland?)
• What are the key pathways for movement of the insect pest and how can we better protect against the risk of further introductions and wider European spread?
• What are the rates of natural spread, and what are the key human mediated means of dispersal of the pest?
• What are the best survey strategies to try and detect the pest as early as possible?
• What control and management approaches are available, cost-effective and of use in dealing with this pest? Is there scope for biological control? And ultimately is there scope for preventing or limiting spread in the case of successful establishment?
Forest Research are the project co-ordinators