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Visual and chemical cues affecting the detection rate of the emerald ash borer in sticky traps


Michael J. Domingue (corresponding author), Department of Entomology, Center for Chemical Ecology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, 16802 PA, USA. E-mail:


Using sticky traps, we compared the efficacy of chemical and visual lures, both alone and in combination, for improving the detection of populations of the emerald ash borer (EAB), Agrilus planipennis. Ash leaflets to which EAB visual decoys were pinned and coated with sticky material were able to trap EAB with as high a rate of detection as large sticky visually unbaited ‘prism traps’ currently used in wide-scale EAB surveillance programs in North America, in a high-density area. Both the sticky leaf traps and prism traps captured more EAB when a point source of plant odours, either manuka or phoebe oil, was deployed with the trap. For the sticky leaf traps, the shape of the EAB visual decoy lure was found to be important in optimizing the detection rate. Either an entire dead beetle or else two elytra placed side by side to mimic a resting beetle resulted in optimal trap performance. When two elytra were placed end to end or else other body parts were deployed, the traps lost their efficacy. Small green plastic surfaces to which EAB visual decoys were pinned were found to be fairly good substitutes for live ash leaflets, but the rate of beetle detection was reduced significantly from that of the ash leaflet plus EAB decoy. Throughout all experiments, a clear male bias occurred in sticky leaf traps when EAB visual decoys were placed on the traps. The implications of these findings for developing new trapping designs for EAB and other forest buprestids are discussed.