Tree resin flow dynamics during an experimentally induced attack by Ips avulsus , I. calligraphus , and I. grandicollis
The success of tree colonization by bark beetles depends on their ability to overcome host tree defenses, including resin exudation and toxic chemicals, which deter bark beetle colonization. Resin defenses during insect outbreaks are challenging to study in situ, as outbreaks are stochastic events that progress quickly and thus preclude the establishment of baseline observations of non-infested controls. We use synthetic aggregation pheromones to demonstrate that confined Ips bark beetle herbivory can be successfully initiated to provide opportunities for studying interactions between bark beetles and their hosts, including the dynamics of constitutive and induced resin exudation. In Pinus taeda L. plantations between 12 and 19 years old in North and South Carolina, U.S., trees were affixed with pheromone lures, monitored for evidence of bark beetle attacks, and resin samples were collected throughout the growing season. Baiting increased beetle herbivory to an extent sufficient to produce an induced resin response. Attacked trees exuded about three times more resin at some time than control trees. This supports previous work that demonstrated that information on constitutive resin dynamics alone provides an incomplete view of a host tree’s resistance to bark beetle attack.