The Douglas-fir beetle, Dendroctonus pseudotsugae Hopkins (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), antiaggregation pheromone, 3-methylcyclohex-2-en-1-one (MCH), has been used by natural resource managers and landowners to protect high-value, high-risk trees from Douglas-fir beetle infestation throughout the western United States since 2000. Labor is a major portion of the cost of MCH treatments. MCH is applied by walking through treatment areas and stapling the formulated pheromone in bubble capsules to trees and other objects on a regular grid pattern. Reducing the number of MCH release points and increasing the distance between them could significantly reduce labor costs, particularly in areas with steep terrain or large volumes of woody debris that could impede the movement of applicators. This study compared the standard MCH application method with a method releasing MCH at a 3 times higher rate and placed at three times fewer release points per unit area. Treatments were applied to 2-ha plots simulating an operational application. Aggregation pheromone-baited traps were placed at plot centers to ensure that dispersing adult beetles would be present on all plots. Both MCH treatments were equally effective at preventing the infestation of live Douglas-fir, Pseudotsugae menziesii (Mirbel) Franco, trees (≥30 cm diameter at breast height). These results confirm that MCH formulated to release at three times the current standard rate and placed at 3 times fewer points per unit area can effectively prevent the infestation of live Douglas-fir. The new treatment will significantly reduce the labor cost of MCH applications making them feasible for areas that may have previously been marginal economically.
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Vol. 101 • No. 6