Evaluating High Release Rate MCH (3-methylcyclohex-2-en-1-one) Treatments for Preventing Dendroctonus pseudotsugae (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) Infestations Public Deposited

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  • The Douglas-fir beetle (Dendroctonus pseudotsugae Hopkins) can kill large numbers of Douglas-fir trees (Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirbel) Franco) across a landscape during periods of population outbreaks. High-value individual trees and small stands can be protected from Douglas-fir beetle infestation during outbreaks by applying the anti-aggregation pheromone, MCH (3-methylcyclohex-2-en-1-one). MCH treatments are economical and highly effective, but there are still opportunities to refine existing treatments to be even more cost effective. Current recommendations for applying MCH are to space individual releasers on a 12 x 12 meter grid throughout areas to be protected. Previous field studies and a theoretical study using a puff dispersion model to predict pheromone concentrations have shown that wider spacing of releasers emitting the pheromone at higher release rates may be equally effective compared with the established standard treatment. During 2012 and 2013, we tested higher release rates of MCH at corresponding wider spacings to keep the total amount of MCH released per unit area equal in all treatments. In 2012 near Challis, Idaho, treatments included the established standard release rate and spacing, four and six times the standard release rate with correspondingly wider spacings, and an untreated control. In 2013 near Ketchum, Idaho, treatments included the established standard release rate and spacing, five and seven times the standard release rate with correspondingly wider spacings, and an untreated control. Results from both years indicated that all MCH treatments were equally effective in preventing Douglas-fir beetle infestation. Using higher release rate formulations at wider spacings will reduce labor costs of applying MCH treatments. In addition to reducing labor costs, the revised treatment protocol may increase the feasibility of treating areas that currently may not be possible due to treatment costs.
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