August 27, 2014

Bug threatens Missouri’s world leadership in walnuts (AUDIO)

Missouri’s reputation as the world’s leading producer of walnuts is facing a threat from TCD.

The culprit is a little beetle that attacks black walnut trees. It carries a fungal organism that slowly kills them. It can take years for the cankers it causes to kill a tree but there’s no way to stop the process once a tree has been atacked.

Missouri has more black walnut trees than any other state The state leads the world in production of nutmeats from the Black Walnuts. State forester Lisa Allen says Thousand Canker Disease carried by those beetles is Missouri’s biggest forest concern. “We monitor and trap in the summer to try to catch beetles to see if we have any in our state. So far the results have been negative,” she says.

But it’s been reported in most of the western states and in four states to our east. She says Missouri is “in the crosshairs.”

She says the beetles are hard to detect and there’s no known cure for the fungus they plant in the trees.

She callsĀ the diseaseĀ “the biggest threat to Missouri’s forest now.”

AUDIO: Allen interview 3:26