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Learning from Bark Beetles

Freiburg ecologists hope the ambrosia beetle will provide helpful insights for agriculture and pesticide management

Freiburg, Aug 27, 2021

For the scientists at the University of Freiburg’s Institute of Forest Sciences, bark beetles were an interesting object of research even before they were made responsible for the death of forests. Prof. Dr. Peter Biedermann, holder of the chair of forest entomology and forest protection, is studying the insects among other things due to their fondness for eating fungi. Ambrosia beetles, one of more than 50 subspecies of bark beetles, feed exclusively on fungi they cultivate themselves. They grow their food in their systems of tunnels, while at the same time keeping them clean and orderly to prevent pests from developing. Even the youngest occupants help out. Biedermann and his team want to learn from the beetles how they manage to keep developing new antibiotic substances and transfer their findings to conventional agriculture.