Estimating the Influence of Population Density and Dispersal Behavior on the Ability to Detect and Monitor Agrilus planipennis (Coleoptera: Buprestidae) Populations

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Emerald ash borer, Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire (Coleoptera: Buprestidae), a phloem-feeding pest of ash (Fraxinus spp.) trees native to Asia, was first discovered in North America in 2002. Since then, A. planipennis has been found in 15 states and two Canadian provinces and has killed tens of millions of ash trees. Understanding the probability of detecting and accurately delineating low density populations of A. planipennis is a key component of effective management strategies. Here we approach this issue by 1) quantifying the efficiency of sampling nongirdled ash trees to detect new infestations of A. planipennis under varying population densities and 2) evaluating the likelihood of accurately determining the localized spread of discrete A. planipennis infestations. To estimate the probability a sampled tree would be detected as infested across a gradient of A. planipennis densities, we used A. planipennis larval density estimates collected during intensive surveys conducted in three recently infested sites with known origins. Results indicated the probability of detecting low density populations by sampling nongirdled trees was very low, even when detection tools were assumed to have three-fold higher detection probabilities than nongirdled trees. Using these results and an A. planipennis spread model, we explored the expected accuracy with which the spatial extent of an A. planipennis population could be determined. Model simulations indicated a poor ability to delineate the extent of the distribution of localized A. planipennis populations, particularly when a small proportion of the population was assumed to have a higher propensity for dispersal.

Keywords: delimitation; detection; emerald ash borer; invasive species; surveillance

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: February 1, 2012

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