Evaluating Predators and Competitors in Wisconsin Red Pine Forests for Attraction to Mountain Pine Beetle Pheromones for Anticipatory Biological Control

Jesse A Pfammatter, Adam Krause, Kenneth F Raffa
Environmental Entomology 2015, 44 (4): 1161-71
Mountain pine beetle, Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), is an irruptive tree-killing species native to pine forests of western North America. Two potential pathways of spread to eastern forests have recently been identified. First, warming temperatures have driven range expansion from British Columbia into Albertan jack pine forests that are contiguous with the Great Lakes region. Second, high temperatures and drought have fostered largescale outbreaks within the historical range, creating economic incentives to salvage killed timber by transporting logs to midwestern markets, which risks accidental introduction. We evaluated the extent to which local predators and competitors that exploit bark beetle semiochemicals would respond to D. ponderosae in Wisconsin. We emulated D. ponderosae attack by deploying lures containing synthetic aggregation pheromones with and without host tree compounds and blank control traps in six red pine plantations over 2 yr. Predator populations were high in these stands, as evidenced by catches in positive control traps, baited with pheromones of local bark beetles and were deployed distant from behavioral choice plots. Only one predator, Thanasimus dubius F. (Coleoptera: Cleridae) was attracted to D. ponderosae's aggregation pheromones relative to blank controls, and its attraction was relatively weak. The most common bark beetles attracted to these pheromones were lower stem and root colonizers, which likely would facilitate rather than compete with D. ponderosae. There was some, but weak, attraction of potentially competing Ips species. Other factors that might influence natural enemy impacts on D. ponderosae in midwestern forests, such as phenological synchrony and exploitation of male-produced pheromones, are discussed.

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