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Efficacy of Verbenone for Protecting Ponderosa Pine Stands From Western Pine Beetle (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Scolytinae) Attack in California

Christopher J. Fettig, Stephen R. McKelvey, Robert R. Borys, Christopher P. Dabney, Shakeeb M. Hamud, Lori J. Nelson, Steven J. Seybold
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1603/029.102.0515 1846-1858 First published online: 1 October 2009

Abstract

The western pine beetle, Dendroctonus brevicomis LeConte (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Scolytinae), is a major cause of ponderosa pine, Pinus ponderosa Dougl. ex Laws., mortality in much of western North America. Currently, techniques for managing D. brevicomis infestations are limited. Verbenone (4,6,6-trimethylbicyclo[3.1.1]hept-3-en-2-one) is an antiaggregation pheromone of several Dendroctonus spp., including D. brevicomis, and it has been registered as a biopesticide for control of mountain pine beetle, Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins, and southern pine beetle, Dendroctonus frontalis Zimmermann. We evaluated the efficacy of a 5-g verbenone pouch [82%-(−); 50 mg/d] applied at 125 U/ha for protecting P. ponderosa stands (2 ha) from D. brevicomis attack over a 3-yr period. No significant differences in levels of D. brevicomis-caused tree mortality or the percentage of unsuccessfully attacked trees were found between verbenone-treated and untreated plots during each year or cumulatively over the 3-yr period. Laboratory analyses of release rates and chemical composition of volatiles emanating from verbenone pouches after field exposure found no deterioration of the active ingredient or physical malfunction of the release device. The mean release rate of pouches from all locations and exposure periods was 44.5 mg/d. In a trapping bioassay, the range of inhibition of the 5-g verbenone pouch was determined to be statistically constant 2 m from the release device. We discuss the implications of these and other results to the development of verbenone as a semiochemical-based tool for management of D. brevicomis infestations in P. ponderosa stands.

  • antiaggregation pheromone
  • Dendroctonus brevicomis
  • pest management
  • Pinus ponderosa
  • stand protection

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