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Volatiles from the symbiotic fungus Raffaelea lauricola are synergistic with Manuka lures for increased capture of the Redbay ambrosia beetle Xyleborus glabratus

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Abstract

  1. Redbay ambrosia beetle Xyleborus glabratus is an invasive wood boring beetle that has become established in the southeastern U.S.A. and transmits a fungus Raffaelea lauricola that causes lethal laurel wilt. Among susceptible Lauraceae hosts are redbay Persea borbonia and avocado Persea americana.
  2. There is a crucial need for detection of this pest as it moves into new areas. Consequently, our goal was to create a better lure for the monitoring and control of redbay ambrosia beetle.
  3. We analyzed volatile emissions of R. lauricola, created a synthetic odour blend based on this analysis and tested this odour blend as a potential attractant in a redbay forest infested with X. glabratus. The synthetic Raffaelea odour blend was not attractive to the beetles by itself. However, it synergistically increased attraction to host-mimic volatiles.
  4. We tested four commercial release devices for dispensing Raffaelea odour at various release rates. Two prototypes with the highest release rate, when paired with commercial manuka oil lures, captured more beetles than manuka oil lures alone. These results indicate that a synthetic blend of volatiles based on the odour of the symbiotic fungus of X. glabratus may be useful for the development of more sensitive monitoring lures for this invasive pathogen vector.

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