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Attraction of ambrosia and bark beetles to coast live oaks infected by Phytophthora ramorum

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1 Sudden oak death is caused by the apparently introduced oomycete, Phytophthora ramorum. We investigated the role of bark and ambrosia beetles in disease progression in coast live oaks Quercus agrifolia.

2 In two Marin County, California sites, 80 trees were inoculated in July 2002 with P. ramorum and 40 were wounded without inoculation. Half of the trees in each group were sprayed with the insecticide permethrin [cyclopropanecarboxylic acid, 3-(2,2-dichloroethenyl)-2,2-dimethyl-(3-phenoxyphenyl) methyl ester] to prevent ambrosia and bark beetle attacks, and then were sprayed twice per year thereafter. After each treatment, sticky traps were placed on only the permethrin-treated trees. Beetles were collected periodically in 2003.

3 Inoculated trees accounted for 95% of all beetles trapped. The ambrosia beetles Monarthrum scutellare and Xyleborinus saxeseni and the western oak bark beetle Pseudopityophthorus pubipennis were the most abundant of the seven species trapped.

4 Permethrin treatment delayed initiation of beetle attacks and significantly reduced the mean number of attacks per tree. Beetles did not attack any wounded or noncankered inoculated trees.

5 Trees with larger cankers trapped more beetles early in the disease. Once permethrin lost effectiveness, the number of beetle entrance tunnels was a more reliable predictor of subsequent trap catch than was canker size.

6 Beetles were initially attracted to P. ramorum cankers in response to kairomones generated in the host-pathogen interaction. After beetles attacked the permethrin-treated trees, aggregation pheromones most probably were the principal factor in beetle colonization behaviour.
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Keywords: Ambrosia and bark beetles; Coleoptera; Phytophthora ramorum; Quercus agrifolia; Scolytidae; Sudden oak death; attraction; coast live oak; host colonization; permethrin

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, 137 Mulford Hall, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, U.S.A. 2: University of California Cooperative Extension, 1682 Novato Boulevard, Novato, CA 94947, U.S.A. 3: School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science, Michigan Technological University, 1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton, MI 49931-1295, U.S.A. 4: Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, 1111 Franklin Street, University of California, Oakland, CA 94612, U.S.A.

Publication date: 2008-11-01

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