Agrilus planipennis does not occur in Ukraine
The NPPO of Ukraine recently informed the EPPO Secretariat that contrary to the information stated in the paper from Orlova-Bienkowskaja et al. (2019), Agrilus planipennis (Coleoptera: Buprestidae – EPPO A2 List) is still absent from Ukraine (EPPO RS 2019/135). Official surveys of forest plantations, including ash (Fraxinus spp.) trees, are regularly conducted in Ukraine, to verify the possible presence of regulated pests and of A. planipennis. Until now, A. planipennis has not been detected during these regular surveys.
Immediately following the appearance of the above paper on the Internet on 2019-07-02, a specific survey was carried out in the Lugansk region at the same location (Starokozhiv district of the Markiv forest area – according to the GPS-coordinates indicated in the paper) to verify the possible presence of the pest. Pheromone traps were installed and from 2019-07-11 to 2019-07-22, a total of 2019 samples of damaged wood (taken from F. pennsylvanica) and insect specimens were collected. All collected samples, together with insect specimens caught in pheromone traps were sent to the Kharkov phytosanitary laboratory, accredited under ISO/IEC 17025. Results confirmed the absence of any A. planipennis life stages or signs of its presence on collected wood. The other pests that could be found were Hylesinus varius (in damaged wood samples) and Lymantria dispar (in pheromone traps).
In addition, the NPPO of Ukraine noted that some facts presented in the paper are incorrect. The number of ash trees declared as surveyed in the paper (250 - with specific GPS coordinates), when verified in the forest amounted to 50 only. Most of the trees in the area concerned are oak trees (about 90%), and ash trees are only present in a transition area between the forest and protective forest belts, where 2 trees damaged by other forest pests were found. Finally, when requested by the NPPO, no specimens or images (pictures, videos) could be produced by the authors for further confirmation. The NPPO concluded that according to regular and specific surveys conducted on its territory, current results show that A. planipennis has not been detected in Ukraine. The surveillance programme will continue.
The situation of Agrilus planipennis in Ukraine can be described as: Absent, confirmed by surveys.
NPPO of Ukraine (2019-07).
Orlova-Bienkowskaja MJ, Drogvalenko AN, Zabaluev IA, Sazhnev AS, Peregudova HY, Mazurov SG, Komarov EV, Andrzej O, Bieńkowski AO (2019) Bad and good news for ash trees in Europe: alien pest Agrilus planipennis has spread to the Ukraine and the south of European Russia, but does not kill Fraxinus excelsior in the forests. BioRxiv (unpublished pre-print). doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/689240