Improved lure for redbay ambrosia beetle developed by enrichment of α-copaene content
Redbay ambrosia beetle, Xyleborus glabratus Eichhoff, is an exotic wood-borer that vectors the fungal agent (Raffaelea lauricola) responsible for laurel wilt. Laurel wilt has had severe impact on forest ecosystems in the southeastern United States, killing a large proportion of native Persea trees, particularly redbay (P. borbonia) and swampbay (P. palustris), and currently poses an economic threat to avocado (P. americana) in Florida. To control the spread of this lethal disease, effective attractants are needed for early detection of the vector. Two 12-wk field tests were conducted in Florida to evaluate efficacy and longevity of manuka and phoebe oil lures, and to relate captures of X. glabratus to release rates of putative sesquiterpene attractants. Two trap types were also evaluated, Lindgren funnel traps and sticky panel traps. To document lure emissions over time, a separate set of lures was aged outdoors for 12 wk and sampled periodically to quantify volatile sesquiterpenes using super-Q adsorbant and gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy analysis. Phoebe lures captured significantly more X. glabratus than manuka lures, and sticky traps captured more beetles than funnel traps. Phoebe lures captured X. glabratus for 10-12 wk, but field life of manuka lures was 2-3 wk. Emissions of alpha-copaene, alpha-humulene, and cadinene were consistently higher from phoebe lures, particularly during the 2-3 wk window when manuka lures lost efficacy, suggesting that these sesquiterpenes are primary kairomones used by host-seeking females. Results indicate that the current monitoring system is suboptimal for early detection of X. glabratus because of rapid depletion of sesquiterpenes from manuka lures.