Use of Semiochemicals for Southern Pine Beetle Infestation Management and Resource ProtectionThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Since their discovery in the late 1960s, a number of semiochemicals have been identified and deployed for management of the southern pine beetle (SPB). Attractant semiochemicals are used routinely in the Southeast to survey and monitor SPB. Disruptant semiochemicals, primarily verbenone, have shown some promise for spot disruption, but they are not used operationally. Changes in releasers, uncertain demand, uncertain efficacy, and perhaps uncertainty about enantiochemistry have contributed to the current situation in which there is no semiochemical product with an adequate registration and demonstrated efficacy for SPB. Research interest remains, however, largely because there is a paucity of alternatives, semiochemicals offer great flexibility for treating forest resources at a range of spatial scales and resource values, they are generally less toxic than insecticides, and they are believed to be environmentally unobtrusive. Semiochemicals also offer easily observed and sometimes dramatic effects during initial testing. However, when applied for direct control or resource protection, disruptant and/or attractant semiochemicals have been plagued by inconsistent results. Difficulties associated with behavioral complexities, chemistry, performance of release devices, and a lack of knowledge about interactions with the environment have been identified as some of the factors responsible for poor performance. Improving on the research methods used to evaluate and predict semiochemical effects, along with determining the environmental factors that affect when and where semiochemicals can be efficiently and effectively deployed, are keys to their future utility as tools for bark beetle management.