Beetles in the family Nitidulidae can transmit the oak wilt fungus, Ceratocystis fagacearum, to fresh wounds on healthy oak trees, leading to infection and disease development. Historically, nitidulid beetles have not been considered important vectors of the pathogen in Missouri. Studies were conducted in the spring of 2005 and 2006 to determine frequencies of nitidulid beetle species contaminated with C. fagacearum visiting fresh wounds on red oak trees in central Missouri. Colopterus truncatus, C. niger, and C. semitectus were the most abundant species collected from fresh wounds and the only species found to be contaminated with Ceratocystis fagacearum. Of 230 beetles assayed for C. fagacearum, 23 yielded the fungus. Contamination frequencies were higher for beetles collected in April than May; no beetles collected in June were contaminated. We hypothesize that Colopterus truncatus, C. niger, and C. semitectus are principal nitidulid beetle vector species in Missouri during spring. The risk for pathogen transmission by these beetles appears to be greatest in April and least in June.
- Insect vectors
- Quercus spp.