Missouri conservation officials keeping an eye out for beetles that carry walnut tree-killing disease

Published: May. 26, 2023 at 3:52 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - The Missouri Department of Conservation is keeping an eye out for Walnut Tree Beetles.

They don’t pose a threat to people, but rather walnut trees. The beetles are not a direct threat, but they often carry a fungus called “Thousand Canker Disease.”

TCD is known to have killed thousands of walnut trees. Most notably in five eastern states (North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Virginia) and in nine western states.

According to MDC, the name describes the numerous cankers that appear on affected black walnut trees. The fungus kills small patches of tissue, creating cankers under the bark where the beetles attack. These cankers grow together, weakening and eventually killing the tree.

Luckily, the bugs haven’t been spotted in Missouri just yet.

”The beetles are flying right now, that’s why we are having the traps at this time of year. It’s been found in other states, and actually, it’s been found in states to the west of Missouri and states to the east of Missouri. It has not been found in Missouri, we are looking at it very proactively in Missouri because Missouri has a lot of walnut trees.” Francis Skalicky, with the Missouri Department of Conservation.

The traps use pheromones to attract the beetles and soapy water to catch them at the bottom of the trap. One way to deal with TCD is with a quarantine, where known infected lumber is not moved from the area it was cut.

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