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

rchers 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.


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

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