Tribolium castaneum (Herbst) (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae), the red flour beetle, is an important cosmopolitan pest of stored grains. Commercial traps baited with the synthetic aggregation pheromone 4,8-dimethyldecanal (DMD) are used to monitor T. castaneum population densities in storage facilities. However, trap catches may depend on several intrinsic and extrinsic factors. In this study, we explored the effects of beetle nutritional environment, sex, and mating status on the response of T. castaneum to commercial Storgard Dome traps. Beetles raised on a low-nutrition diet were 1.7 times more likely to enter DMD-baited traps compared with beetles that were raised on a high-nutrition diet. Although no sex difference in trap response was found, unmated beetles of both sexes were more responsive to DMD than were mated beetles, and this effect was especially pronounced for beetles reared on a low-nutrition diet. These results suggest that estimating T. castaneum population densities based on trap catches might be improved by incorporating information about the nutritional quality of infested stored products.
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Vol. 100 • No. 6