|Photo of live oak gall midge clusters on an oak tree at Southern University.|
Baton Rouge, La – Scientists from the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Forest Service visited the Southern University Ag Center on Thursday, September 3 to discuss the emerging issue of live oak midge gall infestations and damage to live oak trees in the Baton Rouge area.
Research Entomologist Dr. Brian Strom and Biological Science Technician Stacy Blomquist from the USDA’s Southern Research Station 4552 in Pineville, LA met with interim Chancellor Dr. Adell Brown, Urban Forestry Program Leader Dr. Kamran Abdollahi, Professor of Urban Forestry Dr. Yadong Qi, and Postdoctoral Researcher Dr. Vanessa Ferchaud.
The infections are caused by a tiny insect called a “gall midge.” These winged pests were discovered in Texas in 1999. The gall midge lay eggs in massive budlike cluster rosette galls on the branches of live oak trees. The cluster competes with the tree’s branches for water and nutrients, adding weight to the trees and eventually causes die-back of the branches and decline in the tree’s vigor.
Dr. Qi believes a lack of natural predators has aided in the species becoming so invasive.
Drs. Qi, Ferchaud and other SU Ag Center researchers first noticed the gall on the Southern University campus in February 2009 and began collecting data on the species.
During the meeting, Dr. Qi gave a presentation detailing the current progress made by the SU Ag Center towards understanding the biology, gall formation, behavior and impact of this new pest on oak trees.
The meeting provided an opportunity for the SU Ag Center to build a joint effort with the USDA to explore effective control strategies to reduce damage caused by this invasive species on our precious southern live oak tree population.
For additional information on live oak midge gall, contact Professor of Urban Forestry Dr. Yadong Qi at, 225-771-4408 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.