Laurel Wilt Disease is a scourge here in Florida. The disease affects laurel trees all over the Southeast, with the most notable victim being avocado trees. The beetles also effect sassafras trees, pond spice trees, and swamp bays. The main cause of this disease is a fungus known as Raffaelea Lauricola that is transmitted through a beetle called the red bay ambrosia beetle (Persea Borbonia). Neither of these species are native to the area. It was brought over to the states through wooden shipping containers that had contained the beetle insect. The insect and disease came from countries like India, Japan, Myanmar, and Taiwan. The disease works by having the beetle come into the country, hiding in the wooden crates. Once in America, the beetle enters into the environment and seeks trees to bore into for food and shelter. The beetles contain spores that containing the fungus that kills the host tree. The fungus then grows in the sapwood of the tree, restricting the flow of food, sap, and nutrients around the tree. This results in die back and eventually, a dead tree. The disease is known to highly effect the avocado industry and the natural forests in Florida. Currently, 61 out of 67 counties in Florida contain reports of Laurel Wilt Disease as of 2015. That is an enormous 91%.
So what will my organization do to help? My group wishes to mitigate the spread of Laurel wilt Disease in Florida in order to protect the environment we pride ourselves on as well as the avocado