Incursion of Batocera rubus albofasciata in Italy
At the end of summer 2011, a single adult beetle of Batocera rubus albofasciata (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae) was found on the trunk of a tree in a forest of Quercus and Castanea in the municipality of Merola di Carpineti (province of Reggio-Emilia, Emilia-Romagna region), Italy. Monitoring was carried out in the area where the pest was observed using light traps and beating, but no further adult specimens were found. No signs of the insect (i.e. exit holes or frass) were detected on potential host plants. For the moment, the origin of this beetle remains unknown, but a questionnaire has been sent to 18 municipalities located around the finding site to try to identify amateurs or traders of bonsais and insects. Identified persons and companies will be contacted to verify whether the pest might have been accidentally introduced as entomological specimens or with bonsais or other exotic plants. Finally, in February 2012 a meteorological station close to the finding place recorded a minimum temperature of minus 17.5°C. It is therefore supposed that, if adults of B. rubus albofasciata were still present in this area, it is very unlikely that they have survived.
The pest status of Batocera rubus albofasciata in Italy is officially declared as: Transient, after the first year from the finding, no new specimens or signs of the pest were found. Further investigations in progress.
Note: It can be recalled that in 2011, the NPPO of France had also intercepted B. rubus. A single adult had emerged from a Ficus macrocarpa bonsai which was subsequently destroyed (see EPPO RS 2011/140).
NPPO of Italy (2013-03).