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An experimental test of a visual-based push–pull strategy for control of wood boring phytosanitary pests

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1 International phytosanitary standards require mandatory fumigation for key wood boring beetle pests prior to export. Pressure to reduce the use of toxic fumigants has created a need for alternative control techniques.

2 A visual based push–pull strategy that exploits a differential attraction to yellow and ultra violet (UV) lights was tested for its efficacy at controlling Cerambycidae.

3 The relative attraction of four ‘push’ lighting treatments [two yellow (high and low-pressure Sodium), one white (metal halide) and a control (no light)] to beetles was assessed. Highly attractive UV ‘pull’ traps were compared with a paired control trap, the difference used as a measure of the UV traps attractiveness to residual beetles attracted by ‘push’ lights.

4 Trap catch beneath the two yellow ‘push’ lights was more similar to the control (no light) treatment than the white light for both species. Control ‘push’ lights had the highest average catch of Arhopalus ferus, whereas white light was least attractive. This finding was counter intuitive to expectations, and potential mechanisms are discussed. The white ‘push’ light was most attractive to Prionoplus reticularis.

5 Ultraviolet ‘pull’ traps were highly attractive to residual beetles drawn to yellow ‘push’ light treatments. Relative attraction to the UV ‘pull’ traps beneath control and white ‘push’ lights differed between species.

6 The results obtained suggest that a push–pull strategy combining yellow site lighting with UV kill traps could provide site specific control of wood borers. Future research should attempt large-scale trials that are subject to competing alternative stimuli at a wood processing site.
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Keywords: Alternatives to fumigants; Cerambycidae; light-trapping; mass-trapping; quarantine standard; stimulo-deterrent diversionary strategy

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2009

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