Ability of stress-related volatiles to attract and induce attacks by Xylosandrus germanus and other ambrosia beetles
Abstract:• Xylosandrus germanus typically colonizes physiologically-stressed deciduous hosts but it is increasingly being recognized as a key pest of ornamental nursery stock. We tested the attractiveness of common plant stress-related volatiles to ambrosia beetles occupying the nursery agroecosystem, as well as their ability to induce attacks on selected trees. Experiments were conducted in Ohio, U.S.A.
• Stress volatile attractiveness was first assessed by positioning traps baited with acetaldehyde, acetone, ethanol and methanol in ornamental nurseries. Cumulative trap counts confirmed that ethanol was the most attractive stress-related volatile to X. germanus. Methanol-baited traps were slightly attractive to X. germanus, whereas traps baited with acetaldehyde and acetone were not attractive to any ambrosia beetle.
• A series of tree injection experiments were also conducted to determine the ability of these volatiles to induce attacks by ambrosia beetles under field conditions. Injection of ethanol into Magnolia virginiana induced the largest number of attacks, whereas injection of acetaldehyde induced more attacks than methanol or acetone. Xylosandrus germanus was the most predominant species emerging from M. virginiana injected with each of the stress-related volatiles. No attacks by wood-boring beetles were observed on water injected or uninjected control trees.
• Solid-phase microextraction–gas chromatography–mass spectrometry confirmed the emission of acetaldehyde, acetone, ethanol and methanol after their injection into M. virginiana.
• Xylosandrus germanus has an efficient olfactory-based mechanism for differentiating among host volatile cues. Injecting select trees with stress-related volatiles, particularly ethanol, shows promise as a trap tree strategy for X. germanus and other ambrosia beetles.