Navigation Links
Decoys could blunt spread of ash-killing beetles
Date:2/15/2013

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- As the emerald ash borer ravages North American ash trees, threatening the trees' very survival, a team of entomologists and engineers may have found a way to prevent the spread of the pests.

Emerald ash borers (EABs), a type of beetle native to Asia, first appeared in the U.S. about 20 years ago. They are now moving east from Michigan, killing ash trees on the Eastern Seaboard as far south as North Carolina.

"Within 25 years, practically no ash trees may remain on either side of the St. Lawrence Seaway," said Akhlesh Lakhtakia, Charles Godfrey Binder Professor of Engineering Science and Mechanics at Penn State.

As their name implies, emerald ash borers are iridescent green. The beetles don't carry disease, but their larvae feed on the ash trees' sap, effectively killing the trees by depriving trees of their nourishment.

Thomas C. Baker, Distinguished Professor of Entomology at Penn State, knew that the male EAB locates a mate by flying over an ash tree, finding a female by identifying her green wings, which are folded over her back, and then dropping straight down onto her.

Baker and a post-doctoral fellow in his lab, Michael J. Domingue, were using dead female EABs for bait to trap the male beetles. Dead EAB decoys are not ideal for trapping, said Baker, because they are fragile and can sometimes disappear from the trap.

Baker then learned that Lakhtakia was able to replicate certain biological materials, such as fly eyes and butterfly wings. Baker posed the question: could Lakhtakia's technique visually replicate the unique female borer to create a better lure?

The two researchers, working with a graduate student in Lakhtakia's lab, Drew P. Pulsifer, created a mold of the top of the female beetle's body. The decoy beetle is made by a process of layering polymers with different refractive indexes to create the desired iridescence, and then stamping the resulting material into the mold. The researchers were able to create a color similar to the emerald ash borer's green wings by layering different types of polymer. Eventually they were able to find the right combination of polymers and number of layers in order to refract light and create a color similar to the beetle's own iridescent green. The researchers' findings are scheduled to be published in the April issue of the Journal of Bionic Engineering.

"Akhlesh's technique allows us to present males with different visual stimuli," said Baker, also a faculty member in the University's Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences. "We can manipulate more than that, but right now we are experimentally manipulating the visual decoy."

The researchers had planned a pilot test in central Pennsylvania, but were unable to carry it out due to unfavorable regional weather conditions. They also ran a pilot test in Hungary with a related beetle pest that bores into oak trees. The pilot in Hungary used two controls -- a dead EAB and a decoy made of the polymers, but not molded into the shape of a beetle -- and three types of stamped decoys: one lightly stamped, another with medium force and the final stamped heavily.

"The preliminary indication is that these stamped decoys were 40 percent better than recently dead females in luring and then trapping the males," said Lakhtakia.

The stamped decoys are relatively easy to mass produce, making them both easier to create and maintain and more successful at trapping males than dead female borers.

The purpose of the decoys is to trap the males so that populations of emerald ash borers can be detected in new locations quickly, paving the way for efficient use of other control methods, according to the researchers.

"This is a small dataset, but very encouraging," said Baker, who plans to test the decoys in the U.S. this summer.


'/>"/>

Contact: Victoria M. Indivero
vmi1@psu.edu
814-865-9481
Penn State
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Gut microbes could determine the severity of melamine-induced kidney disease
2. Carbon sponge could soak up coal emissions
3. Stem cell breakthrough could lead to new bone repair therapies on nanoscale surfaces
4. Evaluating evolutionary rates could shed light into functions of uncharacterized genes
5. Unique peptide could treat cancers, neurological disorders, and infectious diseases
6. The effective collective: Grouping could ensure animals find their way in a changing environment
7. Discovery of sexual mating in Candida albicans could provide insights into infections
8. Beers bitter compounds could help brew new medicines
9. Could the timing of when you eat, be just as important as what you eat?
10. BPA substitute could spell trouble
11. The secret sex life of the penicillin-producing fungus could make it more productive
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Decoys could blunt spread of ash-killing beetles
(Date:12/19/2016)... BARCELONA , España y TORONTO , 19 ... fusión con Northern Biologics Inc. que permitirá el desarrollo acelerado de ... ensayos clínicos en varios tipos de tumor en 2017, con múltiples ... ... de su clase con objetivo en el factor inhibidor de leucemia ...
(Date:12/15/2016)... Canada and BADEN-BADEN, Germany , ... a leading global financial services provider, today announced an agreement ... passive behavioural biometrics, to join forces. The partnership will enable ... mitigation strategies in compliance with local data protection regulation. ... In order ...
(Date:12/15/2016)... HILLS, Mich. , Dec. 15, 2016  There ... unlocking car doors or starting the engine. Continental will ... in Las Vegas . Through the ... (Passive Start and Entry) and biometric elements, the international ... field of vehicle personalization and authentication. "The ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/18/2017)... , ... January 18, 2017 , ... ... and more E&L expertise. Within Albany Molecular Research, Inc. (AMRI), the scientific staff ... past year and is planned for further growth in 2017. Extractable & Leachable ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... IL (PRWEB) , ... January 18, 2017 , ... ... on January 24th, 2017, to sell research and genetic testing lab equipment from ... service in the Northwest and Northeast regions of the United States. This 1-day ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... , Jan. 18, 2017  Caris Life Sciences, ... Lustgarten Foundation, the largest private funder of pancreatic ... trial evaluating the impact of immunotherapy in the ... trial enrollment services to identify potential trial candidates ... between treating physicians and study investigators. The Lustgarten ...
(Date:1/17/2017)... 17, 2017 The Global Implantable Biomaterials ... of around 7.5% over the next decade to ... the prominent trends that the market is witnessing ... & graft transplant surgeries and medical implants and ... is categorized into immunomodulatory biomaterials, natural, polymers, hydrogels ...
Breaking Biology Technology: