The western pine beetle, Dendroctonus brevicomis LeConte (Coleoptera: Curculionidae, Scolytinae), is a major cause of ponderosa pine, Pinus ponderosa Douglas ex Lawson, mortality in much of western North America. We review several years of research that led to the identification of Verbenone Plus, a novel four-component semiochemcial blend [acetophenone, (E)2-hexen-1-ol (Z)-2-hexen-1-ol, and (-)-verbenone] that inhibits the response of D. brevicomis to attractant-baited traps, and examine the efficacy of Verbenone Plus for protecting individual trees and forest stands from D. brevicomis infestations in British Columbia and California. In all experiments, semiochemicals were stapled around the bole of treated trees at ≈2 m in height. (-)-Verbenone alone had no effect on the density of total attacks and successful attacks by D. brevicomis on attractant-baited P. ponderosa, but significantly increased the percentage of pitchouts (unsuccessful D. brevicomis attacks). Verbenone Plus significantly reduced the density of D. brevicomis total attacks and D. brevicomis successful attacks on individual trees. A significantly higher percentage of pitchouts occurred on Verbenone Plus-treated trees. The application of Verbenone Plus to attractant-baited P. ponderosa significantly reduced levels of tree mortality. In stand protection studies, Verbenone Plus significantly reduced the percentage of trees mass attacked by D. brevicomis in one study, but in a second study no significant treatment effect was observed. Future research should concentrate on determining optimal release rates and spacings of release devices in stand protection studies, and expansion of Verbenone Plus into other systems where verbenone alone has not provided adequate levels of tree protection.
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Vol. 105 • No. 5