The invasive red turpentine beetle, Dendroctonus valens LeConte, is one of the most economically destructive forest pests in China, having killed >6 million pines in recent years. There is a need to understand the basic biology and ecology of the beetle to develop an effective monitoring and management strategy. Combining field observation with experiments in the laboratory, we tested red turpentine beetle attacking behavior under artificial conditions and examined its behavioral responses to volatiles from holes bored. Our research proved that (1) an red turpentine beetle male adult cannot successfully bore into a pine without a preexisting tunnel that has been bored by a female, whereas an red turpentine beetle female can successfully bore into the tree without the presence of a male; (2) nearly all red turpentine beetle females who made tunnels were joined by red turpentine beetle males, and an red turpentine beetle male always joined a female’s tunnel ≈5 h after she had built it; (3) both red turpentine beetle male and female adults had similar rhythms for boring into the bark, namely, both preferred to bore in the early morning (0300–0800 hours) and evening (1600–2300 hours); (4) red turpentine beetle males and females had different sensitivities to volatiles: the males were sensitive to dust from holes bored by single females, and the females were more sensitive to dust from holes bored by paired male and female adults. Our research suggested some pheromones in this species mediate tree colonization. The significance of this research for red turpentine beetle management is discussed.
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