The walnut twig beetle (Pityophthorus juglandis Blackman) vectors Geosmithia morbida, the causal agent of thousand cankers disease in Juglans, and is particularly damaging to Juglans nigra L. (black walnut). Native hosts of P. juglandis are distributed in the southwestern United States where winter temperatures tend to be higher than those found within the native range of black walnut. To better understand temperature effects on survival of P. juglandis, we initiated studies to determine: 1) seasonal variations in cold tolerance, as measured by the supercooling point (SCP), and 2) upper and lower lethal temperatures (LT). In the lower LT study, Xyleborinus saxeseni (Ratzeberg) was tested for comparison. Insects were either exposed to increasing or decreasing temperatures and then checked for survival. Upper and lower LTs were estimated using a logistic model. For the SCP study, data were grouped into seasons. Seasonal mean SCPs were highest in summer (-15.4°C) and lowest in fall (-18.1°C). The upper lethal limit estimations required to kill 99% of the population (LT99) for adults and larvae were 52.7 and 48.1°C, respectively, and lower limit LT99 estimations for adults and larvae were -18.1 and -18.7°C, respectively. The lower median LT (LT50) of X. saxeseni was -24.7°C. These studies, as well as beetle survival in infested Colorado trees where temperatures reached -29°C in February 2011, suggest P. juglandis could survive the winter in much of the native range of black walnut, but may be limited in trees where temperatures regularly exceed the lower LT.
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Vol. 42 • No. 5