BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - Researchers say they're one step closer to learning more about Rapid Ohia Death.
They have a hunch that the answer may lie in the boring habits of the little ambroia beetle.
New research out of UH is producing more evidence that links the ambosia beetle to Rapid Ohia Death.
Preliminary findings show beetles infected with the disease have been living in trees and the dust created have been infecting others.
"So you can have this boring dust or frass coming out of the tree 24/7, gets caught in the wind, gets blown across the forest, lands on the trees. If there's a wound or some other entry point, it is possible that it percolates down to the tree like that as well," UH researcher Curtis Ewing said.
To date, the fungal disease has killed thousands of ohia trees and affected almost 50,000 acrews of forest on the Big Island.