Ambrosia beetles (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Scolytinae) have become a major impediment to profitable nursery production, with proper controls centered around an accurate monitoring program. Whereas the use of semiochemicals by ambrosia beetles is well understood, the potential use of visual cues including colors remains relatively understudied. Field tests were performed in Tennessee and Mississippi to determine response of the ambrosia beetle community to 13 trap colors (black, blue, brown, clear, gray, green, lavender, opaque, orange, purple, red, white, and yellow). Traps consisted of corrugated plastic in the shape of a prism and covered in insect glue (Pestick™ or Tangle-Trap®). All trap colors were analyzed with a spectro-photometer to quantify spectral reflectance, ranging from 6 - 80% reflectance. Mean ambrosia beetle capture from opaque and red traps (60 and 54, respectively) was significantly higher than from yellow or white traps (30 and 28, respectively). However, captures from each of the afore-mentioned 4 colors were not significantly different from the other 9 colors tested. Although further research is needed to explain the efficacy of the opaque traps, we can recommend that industry-standard black traps are an acceptable choice for ambrosia beetle monitoring programs; whereas, yellow or white traps are not recommended.
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