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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Research Project: Development of Attractants/lures for the Redbay Ambrosia Beetle.

Location: Subtropical Horticulture Research

2012 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
1. Identify volatile chemicals from host wood substrates that are attractive to redbay ambrosia betle (RAB), the vector of laurel wilt disease.

2. Use synthetic host-based attractants to develop tools for detection and control of RAB for use by action agencies and avocado growers.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
A multidisciplinary approach will combine:

1. Chemical identification/separation of volatiles (GC, GC-MS, spinning band distillation).

2. Electrophysiology studies of RAB olfactory response (EAG and GC-EAD).

3. Lab bioassays of RAB behavioral response (Olfactometers, flight tunnels, video analysis) and

4. Field tests to confirm semiochemical efficacy, lure formulations, and field life.


3.Progress Report:

This research relates to inhouse project objective: to develop trapping and control components and systems for integrated pest management of exotic pest insects in the Caribbean, Central and South America that pose a threat to U.S. agriculture.

Field and laboratory studies were conducted by ARS scientists (Miami, FL) to identify host-based attractants for the redbay ambrosia beetle (RAB), which vectors a lethal wilt disease of avocado and related trees in the plant family Lauraceae. A novel method was developed for capture of live host-seeking females in the field, and this has facilitated controlled laboratory bioassays and electrophysiology studies to confirm the chemicals used by RAB for host location. Field tests included (1) a comparison of RAB attraction to U.S. species of Lauraceae to determine host preferences, and (2) evaluations of several essential oils as alternative attractants to replace the currently-used manuka oil lure, which has a field life of only 2-3 wk in Florida. This information will facilitate development of improved lures for better detection/monitoring of RAB by action agencies (Florida DPI, CAPS).


Last Modified: 4/20/2014
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