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Researcher Tracks Invasive Chinese Beetle that Threatens Florida's Forests

Photo: Journal of Economic Entomology
Sweetgum inscriber larvae

An harmless-looking species of Asian wood-boring beetle, previously unknown in the western hemisphere,could spell disaster for the U.S. forestry industry. Researchers at the University of Florida's IFAS School of Forest Resources say the beetle, nicknamed the sweetgum inscriber for its endless appetite for the American sweetgum tree, is 100 percent lethal when exposed to otherwise healthy trees or forests, could cost the hardwood timber industry millions.

Jiri Hulcr, a forest entomologist and assistant professor at UF, joins Gulf Coast Live to talk about his research into this and other invasive species, the vulnerability of Florida's forest and timber industries, and proactive steps he argues can be taken to avoid invasion by dangerous pests like the sweetgum inscriber.

Matthew Smith is a reporter and producer of WGCU’s Gulf Coast Live.