The goldspotted oak borer, Agrilus auroguttatus Schaeffer (Coleoptera: Buprestidae), was first associated with oak mortality in San Diego County, California in May of 2008. Since that time, a research and survey program has outlined the biology of this flatheaded borer in the invaded and native habitats; delimited the invaded range; and developed the components of an integrated pest management (IPM) program. Significant advances have been made in the understanding of its host range, feeding habits, life cycle, and natural enemies in Arizona and California. Some research progress has also been made on the evaluation of techniques for the detection of the pest and treatments to ameliorate its damage. Since the original discovery, we have learned that A. auroguttatus feeds primarily on red oaks in the section Lobatae and that although its landscape-level impacts unfold slowly, it appears to be capable of killing these trees without the aid of abiotic or other biotic factors. The biology, behavior, and impact of A. auroguttatus have also been contrasted with a less well understood sibling species, the Mexican goldspotted oak borer, Agrilus coxalis Waterhouse. The key questions remaining about A. auroguttatus are 1) has sufficient progress been made to facilitate a functional IPM program should the expanding distribution of A. auroguttatus reach the urban oaks of the Los Angeles basin or woodland oaks in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada? and 2) can we assess the risk and predict the population expansion to these lands?
Steve Seybold is a research entomologist who specializes in the study of bark and wood-boring beetles. He and his colleagues are characterizing the invasive bark beetle and woodborer fauna of California and other Western U.S. States. His lab develops lures for the detection of invasive species and discovers and demonstrates the efficacy of behavioral chemical tools for the management of these forest pests. He received his B. S., 1983, Forestry, University of Wisconsin, Madison, and his Ph. D., 1992, Entomology, University of California, Berkeley. He has a joint appointment with the USDA-Forest Service and the Department of Entomology at UC Davis.