Stelidota geminata: another invasive species in Europe?
The strawberry sap beetle, Stelidota geminata (Coleoptera: Nitidulidae) originates from the Americas. S. geminata has a broad host range, adults are attracted by ripe, over-ripe and injured fruits of many species (e.g. apple, peach, citrus fruit fallen on the ground) but this insect is reported to be an important pest of strawberry in the North-Eastern US states. Adults (small, brown beetles less than 2.8 mm long) move into strawberry fields as fruit ripen and feed on the underside of the berries creating holes. They usually prefer to feed on over-ripe fruit but they also can damage marketable strawberries. Larvae contaminate harvestable fruit and render them unmarketable. In the USA, S. geminata reach high densities in strawberry fields and cause economic damage under certain circumstances which still need to be elucidated (possibly linked to the type of habitats surrounding strawberry fields). Control strategies (use of pyrethroid insecticides, removal of overripe fruit, planting strawberries at a sufficient distance from alternate food sources and overwintering sites) are being implemented in some US states to protect strawberry fields. Pictures of S. geminata can be viewed on the Internet:
In the EPPO region, S. geminata was first introduced in the Azores (Portugal) in the 1980s and later in continental Europe. According to the literature, it has now been found in at least 11 countries but, for the moment, there are no reports of damage to fruit crops (not even on strawberry). According to the literature, the currently known distribution of S. geminata is as follows:
EPPO region: Austria (first reported in Kärnten in 2005), Belgium, France (reported in 2007 in Alsace), Germany (first found in 2007 in Baden-Württemberg), Hungary (first found in 2008 near Budapest and then in other localities mainly in the Western part of the country), Italy (first found in 1995), Portugal (Azores, first reported in the 1980s), Slovenia, Spain (Islas Canarias), Switzerland, Turkey.
North America: Canada, Mexico, USA (Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin).
Central America, Caribbean, and South America: reported at least from Cuba, Colombia, Peru and Puerto Rico.
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