Stalking the Emerald Ash Borer

Emerald Ash Borer

Emerald Ash Borer

Ineffective trapping for emerald ash borer is a barrier to early detection and potential eradication of small new infestations. Unlike Lepidoptera that use long range odor cues and can be attracted from a distance, Emerald Ash Borers do not use long distance pheromones. Instead, males use short range cues to locate mates. An effective, efficient and reliable trap that could detect Emerald Ash Borer presence within a large enough area to be useful may not be possible.

Emerald Ash Borer males search for females by color and shape. Emerald Ash Borer cuticle is reflective with a maximum at 540 nm, giving them a green color. Males are attracted to the color and will orient to a dead female beetle pinned to leaves of a host tree. A group of scientists* used a reflective polymer, stamped to crudely resemble emerald ash borer, to attract male beetles. The authors report that the decoys attracted male beetles and elicited the full range of behaviors. DC current was applied to some decoys that stunned the attracted males and with appropriate addition, would allow collection of male beetles.

Decoys may find some use in Emerald Ash Borer management, probably in areas where infestations are known. Gypsy Moth pheromone trapping can be useful for detecting new populations, because a low trap density (1 per square mile) is sufficient to give adequate detection. Detection using Emerald Ash Borer decoys in large areas would be challenging because a high density would be necessary. Decoys could be useful for detecting the presence of the beetles on specimen trees that are to be saved by insecticide treatment. Detection could prevent unnecessary treatment if beetles are not present and sound the alarm if they are.

*Michael J. Domingue ; Drew P. Pulsifer ; Mahesh S. Narkhede ; Leland G. Engel ; Raúl J. Martín-Palma, et al. March 8, 2014. Fine-scale features on bioreplicated decoys of the emerald ash borer provide necessary visual verisimilitude. Proc. SPIE 9055, Bioinspiration, Biomimetics, and Bioreplication 2014, 905507
http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/12.2045521

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in behavior, by jjneal, Invasive Species. Bookmark the permalink.

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