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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Patch Exploitation by Tribolium Castaneum: Movement Patterns, Distribution,and Oviposition

item Campbell, James
item Hagstrum, David

Submitted to: Journal of Stored Products Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 6, 2000
Publication Date: February 1, 2002

Interpretive Summary: Insects can cause damage to stored grain and processed grain products. These pests live in an environment where their food occurs in patches that need to be found. Thus, the movement behavior of stored product pest insects and their ability to find patches of food influences how likely they are to infest food and how effectively customers, such as pest control operators and sanitation managers, can monitor pest populations and target control efforts. In the past, research has emphasized the behavior of stored product pests within bulk stored grain or grain products such as flour, but a better understanding of how pests behave outside of stored commodities is needed. In this manuscript, we examine how a major stored product pest, the red flour beetle (Tribolium castaneum), exploits patches of food. Our results indicate that, at any given time, a relatively constant percent of individuals are located outside of the food patches. Individuals often are inactive for long periods of time, and these periods of inactivity are not necessarily associated with the presence of food. Beetles tended to be recovered along edges and were more likely to lay eggs in food patches near edges. These results will contribute to a better understanding of the influence of landscape on pest behavior and facilitate the development of effective integrated pest management (IPM) programs. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Jim Campbell

Technical Abstract: Stored product insects often live in an environment of spatially separated food patches that vary considerably in size, quality, and persistence. The movement of individuals among patches of food influences the probability that stored products become infested and pest populations persist within storage facilities, and thus many aspects of pest management. Here we examine how a major stored product pest, the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum (Herbst), exploits patches of food. Our results indicate that individuals are often inactive and these periods of inactivity are often outside of food patches. Males are more likely to be inactive outside of flour patches than females. At any given time, a relatively constant proportion of the population is outside of the food patches, but there is considerable variation among individuals in the time spent outside of patches. Beetles outside of food patches tend to be observed near edges due to a tendency to be inactive at edges, to move along edges, and to move more slowly when moving along edges. This tendency to move along edges makes beetles more likely to infest flour patches near the edges than patches further from the edge. A better understanding of the influence of landscape on pest behavior, spatial distribution, and population dynamics is needed to develop effective stored product pest IPM programs.

Last Modified: 4/22/2015
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