Suppression of Bark Beetles and Protection of Pines in the Urban Environment: A Case Study
Southern pine beetles (SPB), and associated bark beetles, have long been recognized as major pests of southern forests. Tactics used for controlling infestations in conventional forest settings have not proven effective at achieving area-wide control, nor are they suitable for the control of infestations in high-value stands such as homesites or wildlife habitat areas. Limited options exist for protecting high-risk uninfested pines of urban forests and often pose undesirable risks. One of the most promising areas in bark beetle research currently being experimentally tested on a large-scale is the use of deterrent behavioral chemicals (semio-chemicals), produced by the insects or their host trees, as biopesticides to disrupt or inhibit infestations. In addition to traditional suppression tactics instituted in an unprecedented SPB outbreak in Gainesville, Florida, a semiochemical, 4-allylanisole (4-AA), was successfully tested as a protectant of pines in residential areas. 4-AA is a host-produced compound with repellent properties to many species of conifer-feeding bark beetles. The "freak" SPB outbreak in this urban environment and successful actions taken to mitigate damage are discussed.