Alva Review-Courier -

1 beetle may have brought lethal tree disease now across SE


NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A lone female fungus-farming beetle inadvertently imported to Georgia may have been the source of a disease that has killed some 300 million redbay trees and threatens Florida's avocado groves, researchers from Mississippi and Florida say.

Clones of the beetle and her fungus have spread west into Texas and north to North Carolina over the past 15 years, said researcher John Riggins of the Mississippi State University Extension Service. He said they could spread nearly to Canada on sassafras, the source of the powder used to thicken filé (FEE-lay) gumbo.

"Filé and guac...

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