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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Crop Bioprotection Research

Title: Landing surface color preferences of Spathius agrili (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), a parasitoid of emerald ash borer, Agrilus planipennis (Coleoptera: Buprestidae)

item Cooperband, Miriam
item Hartness, Ashley
item Lelito, Jonathan
item Cosse, Allard

Submitted to: Journal of Insect Behavior
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/6/2013
Publication Date: 3/20/2013
Publication URL:
Citation: Cooperband, M.F., Hartness, A., Lelito, J.P., Cosse, A.A. 2013. Landing surface color preferences of Spathius agrili (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), a parasitoid of emerald ash borer, Agrilus planipennis (Coleoptera: Buprestidae). Journal of Insect Behavior. 26(5):721-729.

Interpretive Summary: The invasive emerald ash borer (EAB) beetle has destroyed tens of millions of ash trees in eighteen US states and two Canadian provinces and the destructive force of this beetle is causing monetary losses to municipalities, property owners, nursery operators and forest products industries. In order to control this beetle several of its natural enemies have been released in the US. One of theses natural enemies, Spathius agrili, a non-stinging parasitic wasp lays eggs on the larval stages of EAB, killing these larvae when developing into adults. In order to evaluate establishment of S. agrili in areas where it has been introduced, current methods to determine its presence in the field include felling ash trees and rearing out developing insects, or peeling bark to manually search for parasitized EAB. However, felling and peeling trees is destructive and highly labor-intensive. This study explored the color preferences for flight and landing behavior of adult wasps for the possible development of an attractant-baited trap for population sampling of S. agrili.

Technical Abstract: The color preferences for landing surfaces were examined for Spathius agrili Yang (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), a parasitic wasp introduced for biocontrol of emerald ash borer, Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire (Coleoptera: Buprestidae). Lures with the 3-component pheromone blend of male S. agrili were used to activate upwind flight by virgin female S. agrili in a laminar flow wind tunnel. Paper discs with halves of two different colors (combination pairs of black, white, red, yellow, green, or purple), with the pheromone lure in the center, were tested to quantify preferences for landing on one color over another. Females landed preferentially on green, yellow, and white surfaces, and landed the least frequently on red, black, and purple surfaces. Changes in color preferences due to adjacent colors were observed and discussed.

Last Modified: 10/19/2017
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