Detection of newly established populations of Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire, the most destructive forest insect to invade the United States, remains challenging. Regulatory agencies currently rely on artificial traps, consisting of baited three-sided panels suspended in the canopy of ash (Fraxinus spp.) trees. Detection trees represent another survey option. Ash trees are girdled in spring to attract ovipositing A. planipennis females then debarked in fall to assess larval presence and density. From 2008–2010, systematic grids of detection trees and artificial traps were established across a 390-km2 area for the SLow Ash Mortality pilot project. We compared probabilities of detection associated with detection trees and artificial traps along varying A. planipennis density proxies estimated as distance-weighted averages of larval counts (detection trees) or adult captures (traps) within 800 m of each detection tree or trap. Detection trees were consistently more likely to be positive, that is, detect A. planipennis, than traps in all three years, even when traps were placed in canopies of detection trees. Probability of detection with a single detection tree was >50% when density proxies for the area were <5 larvae per detection tree, while the probability of detection with an artificial trap placed in the same area was <35%, even when density proxies exceeded 25 larvae per detection tree. At very low densities of <5 larvae per detection tree, using three detection trees would increase detection probabilities to 90%, while five artificial traps would increase the detection probability only to 40%.
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Vol. 42 • No. 5