RIVERSIDE, Calif. Cerambycid beetles, also known as long-horned beetles, can cause severe damage to standing trees, logs and lumber. How then might they be promptly detected and their numbers swiftly controlled?
Two entomologists have devised a solution based on how male and female cerambycid beetles communicate with, and attract, each other.
First, UC Riverside entomologist Jocelyn Millar and University of Illinois entomologist Larry Hanks identified and then replicated in the lab the very pheromones chemicals insects emit to attract mates that these beetles produce naturally. Next, they placed these attractant lures or "love potions" in traps as a sensitive and selective way of detecting the beetles and estimating their population size.
"Our method allows us to more efficiently find the beetles so that they can be controlled, especially when their populations are low or when the beetles are difficult to survey," said Millar, a professor of entomology. "For invasive species, it is much easier and cheaper to detect and try to eradicate invaders when they are still localized and their numbers are small, before they have a chance to disperse widely."
The researchers successfully identified pheromone blends for more than 30 species of the beetles, including several invasive pests. They also were able to identify reliable characteristics that researchers and regulatory officials can use to determine whether a new invader is likely to use attractive pheromones to bring males and females together. They found that adult beetles of 10 species do not use pheromones at all to attract the opposite sex. Instead, these beetles gather on host trees, drawn there by their attraction to volatile chemicals that the trees release.
Also called wood-boring beetles, cerambyci
|Contact: Iqbal Pittalwala|
University of California - Riverside