What is it about?

The invasive wasp-mimicking Tiger Longicorn Beetle, Xylotrechus chinensis, a potentially lethal pest of mulberry trees, was first reported in Europe in 2018, although its colonization and establishment were estimated to have occurred during the year 2012 or earlier. The main goals of this study were to thoroughly study the beetles’ biology, particularly providing insights into female egg-laying preferences, to evaluate how the infestation progressed over time, and check how useful was abamectin treatment to try control this pest.

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Why is it important?

Our findings show that females prefer laying eggs on larger trees, on the highest part of trunks and on the crown base (this being more preferred than the trunk), and they do so on warmer, SW orientations rather than those facing N, NW and E. Emergence holes and gallery slits predict the spreading of infestations to new trees. Such knowledge helps contribute to management efforts to reduce expansion of the range of beetle infestation. We also conclude that abamectin treatment (trunk injection) carried out at the end of April significantly reduced the number of new infestation and suggest that, for maximum insecticide efficiency, the best time for treating with abamectin would be from mid-July to mid-August, when newly hatched larvae begin feeding on the phloem.


When we first encountered the damage caused by this invasive beetle, we were really worried. Indeed, mulberries are used in many southern Mediterranean towns to provide shade and ornament to streets and avenues and the beetle was not only causing the death of those trees but human safety in public parks and avenues was also a concern because beetle infestation increased the risk of falling branches and the need for rapid response by municipal authorities. When we faced the problem, we realized very little was known about the biology of this beetle and how to deal with it. Since the use of pheromone and biological control methods were not ready yet, while removal and destruction (burning or grinding) of heavily infested mulberry trees had been proven to be insufficient and ineffective to control the spread of this pest, we decided to thoroughly study its biology and try chemical control injecting abamectin to some of the trees. Our results were pioneer in this respect and helped others to deal with this new invasive species.

Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona

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This page is a summary of: The invasive longhorn beetle Xylotrechus chinensis, pest of mulberries, in Europe: Study on its local spread and efficacy of abamectin control, PLoS ONE, January 2021, PLOS, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0245527.
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